News broke yesterday that the Dallas Cowboys will be without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott against the Atlanta Falcons this week. The on-again/off-again suspension saga has put the Cowboys at a disadvantage, but you won’t hear them crying over spilt milk. They will now have to turn to Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, and Darren McFadden to carry the running game in Elliott’s absence, but who exactly is the top dog among the three?
Alfred Morris certainly looks as if he will get the first shot to try to replace Ezekiel Elliott’s production for the Cowboys. Morris has already had a few impressive runs this year while Elliott took a breather. In fact, he is averaging an impressive 8.3 yards per carry and is playing with a renewed energy/burst that we haven’t seen from him since coming to Dallas. And believe it or not, he has the longest run of the year (70 yards), not Ezekiel Elliott (30 yards).
If Morris can continue to have that kind of success, it’s unlikely Rod Smith or Darren McFadden see very many carries. But, I believe Rod Smith is the running back who will emerge among the three and eventually receive more carries than Alfred Morris. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who believes this way.
If the Zeke suspension holds, I’m not sure what the legal options are, I think we’re going to see a lot more of Rod Smith than anyone realizes. Think he’ll have more touches than Alfred Morris over the six games.
For those of you who don’t know Jeff Sullivan, he is a featured Staff Writer for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the lucky few who know a little bit more about what’s going on behind the scene than us casual fans. But, him saying that Rod Smith will have more touches than Alfred Morris doesn’t surprise me all that much.
Back in August I wrote about Rod Smith and how I believed he would emerge as Ezekiel Elliott’s primary backup. Please feel free to read my reasons as to why I feel this way. It may surprise you, but I still feel this way today, even several months later.
Now, there is no way of knowing if he will eventually see more touches than Alfred Morris or even Darren McFadden for that matter. Rod Smith first has to be given the opportunity to prove himself, but I think that’s all he needs.
Rod Smith is the unknown that everybody wants to see more of. He brings unique size and speed to the position, but possesses the skill set to be a three-down back in the NFL. But, what I like the most about him is the attitude he brings to the table.
I like both Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. I really do. But, they just don’t run with the same kind of violence Rod Smith does. I think it’s that kind of attitude the Cowboys offense will feed off of, much like they do when Ezekiel Elliott runs the ball.
I’m sure the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff will ride the hot hand during Elliott’s absence. They can’t afford not to. But, when all is said and done, I think it’s going to be Rod Smith that rises to the top. Remember, you heard it here first.