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The Cowboys have rolled with two running backs before, in fact quite a lot just last season

If you thought two running backs was knew, think again.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys finalized their 53-man roster over the holiday weekend and have since been jump-roping it a bit with adjustments. One thing that was somewhat surprising that has remained constant is that of their 53, only two are running backs.

Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith will do the carrying for the Cowboys this season, although they do have Jordan Chunn and Bo Scarbrough on the practice squad. Immediately you can rationalize what the Cowboys are thinking here with only two because Zeke is going to carry the ball so much. Why carry a third player for no reason?

Traditionally a team’s third running back plays a lot on special teams, but Rod Smith is a trooper and has no problem handling those duties. While all of this does sort of make sense when you say it out loud, it still feels weird, right? I mean, only two running backs.

When you start to think about it your mind goes to a certain place. There’s no way the Cowboys have ever done this before, right? This feels revolutionary! Two running backs is hardcore. We’re innovators!

Think again, my friend. I do this a lot, but it makes sense to do it now. Guess how many times the Cowboys had only two running backs active on gameday last season? This is the thing I said that I do a lot, I’m yammering on and on as long as I can so that you can have enough time to think without seeing the answer. I’m actually proud of how long I’ve been able to stall. Enough with it. There were only two runners on six occasions in 2017.

Cowboys running backs active in 2017

2017 Game Running Backs Active
2017 Game Running Backs Active
New York Giants 3
At Denver Broncos 3
At Arizona Cardinals 3
Los Angeles Rams 3
Green Bay Packers 3
At San Francisco 49ers 3
At Washington Redskins 3
Kansas City Chiefs 3
At Atlanta Falcons 3
Philadelphia Eagles 2
Los Angeles Chargers 2
Washington Redskins 2
At New York Giants 2
At Oakland Raiders 2
Seattle Seahawks 3
At Philadelphia Eagles 2

Think about that. The Cowboys only had two running backs active for an entire third of last season. These are hardly uncharted waters for them.

Now it is certainly worth noting that the Cowboys were playing a different game of jump rope a season ago, one regarding Ezekiel Elliott. Things weren’t exactly settled at the position and they alternated a ton between Alfred Morris and Rod Smith (Darren McFadden was active for just one game), and Trey Williams even got in on the action briefly.

It feels unconventional for the Cowboys to only carry two running backs, but one of them is literally going to carry the ball 500,000 times. The Cowboys also have Tavon Austin who they can use out of the backfield, so things sort of make sense all the way around.

Funny how that happens from time to time.

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