THE BACKS who will pick up El­liott’s work­load.

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - Twit­ter: @Ksh­er­ring­tondmn

But then a funny thing hap­pened on the way to Min­neapo­lis: The Wiz Kids lost some of their sparkle, or most of it, ac­tu­ally, and the re­sult has been less than in­spir­ing.

Not that it’s nec­es­sar­ily been ei­ther Dak Prescott’s fault or Zeke’s. A silly the­ory early on ad­vanced the the­ory that El­liott had lost a step. Now, ex­actly how a run­ning back of his cal­iber loses a step at 22, with­out any ev­i­dence of in­jury, is beyond me. What fans were notic­ing in­stead of a loss of speed was a lack of con­vic­tion.

And if El­liott isn’t run­ning as hard as he did as a rookie, there might be a cou­ple of good rea­sons. He’s prob­a­bly got other things on his mind, and it’s hard to hit a hole where it isn’t.

One of El­liott’s gifts is that he’s a pa­tient runner, mean­ing he al­lows time for the play to de­velop in front of him. Once it does, his other gifts kick in.

The prob­lem is, how many times have you seen an op­po­nent’s de­fense parted by the world’s best of­fen­sive line?

Ja­son Gar­rett tells us that teams come loaded to stop the Cow­boys’ run­ning game this sea­son, and I have no doubt. But it seems to me they had the same idea last sea­son, too, and it made no dif­fer­ence.

The of­fen­sive line sim­ply hasn’t per­formed as well. Now, is that be­cause Ron Leary blocks for Trevor Siemian th­ese days and Doug Free is whit­tling on his front porch? Could be. A good of­fen­sive line is all about com­mu­ni­ca­tion and co­he­sive­ness, and it helps con­sid­er­ably if you pack it with three firstround picks.

Maybe it’s just go­ing to take a few games to jell. If they can do that with­out El­liott, well, we’ ll know they’ve re­claimed their ti­tle.

On the other hand, maybe the sim­plest an­swer to the problems on of­fense is play­call­ing. Scott Line­han opened up the play­book last week against Green Bay, and it paid div­i­dends. Dak found re­ceivers open all over the field for the first time this sea­son. The suc­cess even­tu­ally seemed to open up the run­ning game, which the Cow­boys used to eat up the clock right up to the mo­ment they stopped it on an in­com­plete pass to Dez Bryant, thus af­ford­ing Rodgers am­ple time to cut out their hearts once again.

Crit­ics of this line of think­ing have said we’re go­ing light on the Cow­boys’ de­fense, which should have stopped Green Bay. A fair point, too. Ex­cept that’s not how the Cow­boys are built. Jerry Jones spent his money on of­fense, not de­fense, with the idea that they’d play keep­away.

If you’ ll re­call, they did that a cou­ple of years ago with a run­ning back, Dar­ren Mcfad­den, who hasn’t even been al­lowed to suit up this sea­son. He’s no Zeke, and nei­ther is Al­fred Mor­ris. But they’re both good enough if ev­ery­body does their jobs.

And if they don’t, well, it won’t mat­ter who’s tak­ing hand­offs. This team won’t go any­where but fish­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.