The first three games of the season are must-wins for the Dallas Cowboys (so is every game, by the way). We’ve talked about this here at BTB.
Of course, anything is possible and can change in the NFL but when you consider just who the Cowboys play during the season’s first three weeks it’s unlikely that you experience any real trepidation:
- Week 1: New York Giants
- Week 2: at Washington Redskins
- Week 3: Miami Dolphins
Yes, division games are always tough. That’s true, but the Cowboys are getting the opportunities to play Eli Manning and Case Keenum in all likelihood. Those are good odds.
This is something that might be on the mind of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Appearing on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday morning Jerry was discussing Ezekiel Elliott’s contract situation and said something very interesting.
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan: We've got a marathon here. And we want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of this season. As you well know you have to plan your personnel and have to manage a player, the caliber of Zeke.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 28, 2019
A year and a half ago when Kawhi Leonard was missing time with a questionable injury issue while playing for the San Antonio Spurs there were plenty of people around the city that thought it was all a giant conspiracy theory put together by coach Gregg Popovich. They thought that Pop might have been managing Leonard secretly so as to keep him healthy for the playoff run considering Leonard was injured during the Western Conference Finals the year before. With Jerry’ statement from above, it’s possible the conspiracy theories will begin that something similar is happening with the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott.
It’s no secret that Zeke has worn down (for lack of a better way of putting it) over the course of the two seasons that Dallas has had success with him in their backfield. If you put on your tinfoil hat it sort of makes sense that the Cowboys would look at this overall situation and be interested in shaving three games worth of work off of his shoulders, especially if they do plan on giving him a long-term deal and want to preserve him.
Ask yourself the question honestly: Do you think the Cowboys could beat New York, Washington, and Miami without Zeke? The answer is likely yes. Dallas will already be operating during the first two games of the season without Robert Quinn thanks to a suspension, but it’s not exactly a gauntlet staring at the Cowboys. It’s very doable.
What’s more if you really want to believe in something, the first game after that little stretch is against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. Why is that significant? Oh no big deal, the Cowboys just happen to play on Sunday Night Football when they visit the Big Easy. Imagine the ratings (which Jerry Jones was specific to mention on 105.3 The Fan were doing well, so much so that he “took exception” when the question he was asked indicated that they weren’t doing well) for Elliott returning to the 3-0 Cowboys on national television. It would be wild.
Of course, this is just a crazy conspiracy theory at this point. Perhaps the Cowboys are just in a standard stalemate with the NFL’s reigning rushing champion. But on the other hand...
Do you think the first three games of the season factor at all into the Zeke contract negotiations?
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