FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) – The Dallas Cowboys running backs room remains hyper-aware of who is the top dog in that room, even though that top dog is now in the NFL doghouse for six weeks.
“Am I a starter? I’m definitely a starter,” Alfred Morris said, meaning to answer this week’s question in a way that reflects his confidence, no matter what. “I would never sit here and say I’m not a starter. But at the same time, that’s not the role I’m in.”
But this week? Yeah, that’s exactly the role Morris is in… however momentary it might be.
With Ezekiel Elliott slated to start his six-game NFL suspension, it’s been an open secret that Morris would be the top guy on the depth chart, something coordinator Scott Linehan confirmed on Thursday. But as much as fantasy players are going to hate this, the plan all along has been to employ a running-back-by-committee approach.
Morris is a good fit being the Cowboys blocking style.
Relative unknown Rod Smith is a power back who might grow into more versatility. And the coaching staff is open to the idea that Darren McFadden — the best pass-catcher and blocker of the bunch — might end up with the most touches over the next six weeks.
“I’ll be a little rusty, but I feel like it won’t take me long to shake it off at all,” said McFadden, who has been inactive for every game this year, but two seasons ago led Dallas with 1,089 rushing yards in just 10 games, good for fourth-best in the NFL. “I feel fresh. I’ve been taking care of my body, doing everything I’d do as if I was playing. Fortunately enough, I haven’t had those hits, so I feel like maybe I’m even a step ahead.”
Smith said Elliott wants his buddies to “keep it rolling,” a viable idea for the 4-3 Cowboys this Sunday at AT&T Stadium against the 6-2 Chiefs, who list run-stopping as among their few weaknesses.
Said Morris: “A lot of people are thinking that the running game is going to falter because Zeke’s not here, but that’s not the case. Will we miss him? Yeah. But at the same time, the train goes on. We’re going to do our job.”
And Morris’ job is to start. For starters, anyway.