Ezekiel Elliott will miss the first six games of the 2017 season, but Cowboys fans shouldn’t panic. After all, this is why teams have backups – and few teams, to be clear, have backups as good as Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris.
“I would think McFadden (would likely become the starter),” NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “McFadden rushed for almost (1,100) yards (in 2015). They’ve had a very good offensive line for a number of years. I would doubt very much that their basic offensive philosophical approach will change. Back in 2014, when DeMarco Murray rushed for 1,845 yards, Tony Romo threw the fewest passes of any 16-game starter in the NFL. Prescott was close to that last year. I doubt their approach will change.”
If it does change, though, expect a few more passes from Prescott, who completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just four interceptions as a rookie. He also rushed for 282 yards and six scores.
“He was very good on third down, he’s calm in the pocket, he operates behind a very good O-Line, so he’s clean in the pocket a lot,” Cosell said. “But I will tell you this: I thought toward the end of the season, the last four or five games – and the difference was really subtle – but I thought he wasn’t quite as mentally sharp the last four or five games. That could also be a function of the lengthier NFL season. It wears on you. Obviously he’s not played that many game and done it for as long at any time in his life. But he struggled at times. He wasn’t quite as rhythmic. The ball didn’t come out quite with the same timing. There were some times he didn’t quite see things as clearly as he did earlier.
“Now all of this is to be expected,” Cosell continued. “He was a rookie quarterback. My guess is they’ll try to expand a little bit in the pass game. Now that he’s been there a year, same coordinator, same offense, hey’ll probably try to expand a little bit with some of the concepts. But I would doubt they’ll be significantly different in the way they look.”