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Dallas Cowboys News: Has Ezekiel Elliott Already Won The Starting Job In Dallas?

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys will have one of the most improved offenses in football; Elliott will take over majority of snaps in time; Cowboys trade possible, but not until later in camp.

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Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden Splitting First Team Reps - Scott Crisp, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott and veteran Darren McFadden have been splitting first team reps in practice this offseason, but it looks like Elliott is gaining the upper hand.

In the first week of Cowboys’ organized team activities (OTAs), veteran running back Darren McFadden took the first team reps at running back.

In the second week, McFadden was absent from practice for personal reasons, and first round pick Ezekiel Elliott took the first team reps.

In the third week, the official word out of Valley Ranch was that the two split reps with the first team, though some reports suggest Elliott took most or all of the snaps in the two-minute drills.

Bryan Broaddus: Zeke will take over majority of snaps in time - Dallas Cowboys Mailbag
In response to a reader question about the depth at running back, Broaddus gives his take on how that could play out.

Right now, McFadden and Elliott are splitting reps. I agree with you that moving on from McFadden would be a bad idea because of his experience. Coaches are creatures of habit and will always play the players they know as opposed to the ones they don’t know. I will say that there will be a point in time where Zeke takes over the majority of the snaps -- regardless of his lack of experience. There is just too much talent there.

Dallas Cowboys running backs Elliott, McFadden sharing first-team reps, - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
The Cowboys have been focusing on getting Elliott more time with Tony Romo.

"We want him to get a feel for being in there with Tony. He has worked and earned it," running backs coach Gary Brown said. "So we are giving him an opportunity to do that. He has to keep working. He is not there yet, but we’ve got to keep going. I’m happy with his progress."

Elliott has impressed everyone on the Cowboys with his smooth transition to the NFL so far.

It’s important for Elliott to get work with Romo because the team considers him a transcendent talent who they expect to have a huge impact as runner and receiver out of the backfield.

McFadden Sees Elliott as "Awesome Runner;" But Still Ready to Compete - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
McFadden understands that Elliott will eventually take over as the No. 1 guy in Dallas, but he's being very gentlemanly about it.

He knows where the Cowboys will be leaning to when it’s time to carve out specific roles for the offense.

"They picked him high, he’s going to play and get his touches," McFadden said of Elliott. "I know what that’s like. But there’s a role for all of us. We’re not afraid of competition and I know he’ll bring out the best in us and we’ll bring out the best in him."

Yes, he knows the Ohio State rookie will get his touches, McFadden said he plans on giving Elliott the same mentor treatment he received in 2008.

"We had a guy named Justin Fargas," McFadden said. "He was competing with me but he still took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I plan on doing that with (Elliott) and any young guy."

The Cowboys Will Have One of The Most Improved Offenses in Football - Kyle Pollock, RotoViz
Pollock explains why you should expect a great season from the Cowboys offense (and why you should target as many Cowboys in your fantasy football drafts as possible).

Elliott may not be the biggest reason for the Cowboys improvement this season. The return of Tony Romo should have Cowboys fans and fantasy owners alike more excited than Elliott going to the Cowboys.

Obviously I expect Bryant to bounce back in a big way. Terrance Williams will continue to be a boom or bust play, albeit with better touchdown scoring potential with Romo playing. Witten, who has been a top 12 tight end every season of his career, sees an increase in touchdowns from three to roughly six. And because of the focus placed on Bryant, Witten, and Williams, Ezekiel Elliott will have wide open running lanes because of how spread out the defense is. This will allow him [to score] easy touchdowns in the red zone (see my projection of 8.38 touchdowns), and more space with to work with on receptions out of the backfield (37 receptions).

All of this will help Tony Romo become one of the biggest values in fantasy football, passing for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Overall I suggest you try to buy players in the Cowboys offense, as the offense should rebound this season.

Top 5 Comeback Player of the Year candidates for 2016 - Ryan Smith, Pro Football Focus
PFF used to be a site for player grades and advanced stats. These days, they are mostly a fantasy football site with the occasional article about real football. In this one, PFF looks at five players that have a legitimate shot at the 2016 NFL Comeback Player of the Year honor. One of them, of course, is Tony Romo.

Romo has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league the last five years, earning season grades that ranked 11th, 10th, 11th, 13th, and seventh from 2010–2014 before his injury-plagued season of 2015.

While the injury history is a concern, Romo will return to arguably the best offensive line in football, an elite wide receiver in Dez Bryant (who is also overcoming a serious injury from last season), and a rookie running back who was taken fourth overall, Ezekiel Elliott.

There is reason to believe that Dallas will be much closer to their 12 wins of 2014 than their four of 2015, and if this is the case, Romo will deserve a lot of the credit and could be deserving of consideration for Comeback Player of the Year.

Bryant Not Worried About Getting Rhythm Back With Romo - Pat Doney, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The quarterback-wide receiver combination has worked together sparingly in the last 17 months because of injuries and Bryant's contract holdout in 2015.

"When Dez gets himself healthy and he’s ready to (work together), those guys are going to get plenty of opportunity to do that throughout training camp," Garrett said. "It starts with the basic stuff, throwing routes on air, throwing one-on-ones, getting in seven-on-seven situations, and then the team situations. Certainly those guys, when Dez is ready to go, are going to do that."

Cowboys trade possible, but not until later in camp - Todd Archer, ESPN
While there has been some talk of the Cowboys potentially trading OL Ronald Leary and RBs Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris, Archer can’t see a deal happening until later in training camp.

If something happens, I believe it happens later in training camp. Teams become more desperate to make moves because of injuries suffered in camp or in preseason games.

On Ronald Leary, the Cowboys will have to be given a quality pick to trade him away. They know how precious offensive-line depth can be, which is why they won’t give him away. They would rather wait for a potential compensatory pick in 2018 than settle for a fifth- or sixth-rounder now.

The running-back case will be interesting to watch. [...] Since the Cowboys just signed Morris, he would be safer than McFadden. If the Cowboys deal McFadden they are looking at a $100,000 cap hit, so no worries there. But, again, I’d be careful. As much as I think Ezekiel Elliott is going to play well, I’d still want to see him work in pads for a little bit before making a move. McFadden is a decent fallback option if Elliott doesn’t light it up in 2016.

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee’s dream is to play all 16 games for Super Bowl contender - Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
Lee has never played a full 16-game season, and has missed 20 games in five seasons with injuries, something he would like to change this year.

"I’d like to play 16 games and for us to get on a roll and really have a shot in the playoffs and be competing for a championship. Last year, going into the year, we thought that was the position we were going to be in. Unfortunately, we weren’t. How we respond from that…. We know we have the guys. We know we can be in that position, but we have to battle adversity and get back on track."

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Richard Sherman wants billionaires, not taxpayers, to pay for stadiums - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
Sherman says what most normal folks think. Meanwhile in the NFL head offices in New York, the league executives are laughing their butts off, while the owners are rolling on the floor laughing at such a ridiculous notion.