The 2017 Dallas Cowboys are dead.
After a third straight blowout loss, this time to a sub .500 team at home, the Cowboys are 5-6 and staring up at multiple teams in the NFC playoff race. Though mathematically alive, no one who has watched this team the last three games would give the Cowboys any chance to make the postseason.
At this point, they are simply a really bad football team, and changes need to be made at an organizational level.
If you were looking for any bright spot after that destructive loss on Thanksgiving, however, I have one for you. This player got into the end zone for the first time this season, and rushed for 41 yards on just 9 carries.
That player is running back Rod Smith.
While the Cowboys offense was nonexistent throughout the game, Rod Smith was consistently productive on each of his touches Thursday afternoon. Being used mostly in short yardage situations, Smith provided the offense with those extra tough yards which Alfred Morris hadn’t been getting.
Morris had a solid game on the ground as well, but Rod Smith showed why I believe he has RB2 potential in Dallas. If I were the Cowboys, I’d continue to utilize Smith over Morris during the remainder of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension for a couple of reasons.
First, he is the far superior pass blocker to Morris. When asked to chip the opposing team’s defensive ends, Rod Smith has done a fairly good job, and has even stuck a few free rushers from time to time.
Second, the season is already most likely lost. I’m not saying Dallas should throw in the towel, but allowing their young running back to shoulder most of the load will help the Cowboys make future personnel decisions. We already know what Alfred Morris is, but maybe Rod Smith is a player the organization will want to keep around long term.
The only way to find out is to play him. Something I hope the Cowboys do more of down the stretch.