The Ezekiel Elliott saga has gotten to the point where you need legal experts to truly understand the complexities of this neverending battle between Jerry Jones and the NFL.
You can argue the team should let it go, you can argue that the NFL and Roger Goodell are in the wrong here, but the bottom line is, the Cowboys have to prepare for this week’s game without their star running back.
It’s something Dak Prescott has probably been mentally preparing for each week. Now, it’s finally time to see if he can be like some of the great quarterbacks in this league and carry his offense.
It may be overstating it to assume Prescott won’t have a running game since Dallas has a couple of very capable backups at the halfback position, plus an elite offensive line. Elliott is an amazing talent, nonetheless, and his absence unquestionably makes this team weaker.
Prescott has been a touchdown machine this year and despite some early concerns over a potential sophomore slump, his play has been better in some ways in 2017 (16 touchdowns to 4 INTs for a 97.9 QB rating in 8 games) than during his reamarkable rookie run last season. You could make a legit case that he is a darkhorse MVP candidate down the stretch, particularly if he can keep playing well without Zeke in the backfield.
I’m not going to speculate any further than this weekend regarding Elliott’s potential return. The NFL is ultimately a private company that has free reign to make its own policies, fair or not. That’s why this has always been a losing battle for Elliott in some ways.
Had he taken the suspension earlier, it would already be over. But it’s impossible to know where Dallas would be without Elliott’s dominant production during the Cowboys’ 5-3 start.
Prescott has given no indication that he can’t handle the added pressure given everything he’s already done in NFL career and what he’s gone through in his life off the field. We will finally get a chance to see what he can really do this weekend against a very talented Falcons secondary.