The preseason is officially over for the Dallas Cowboys which means that the next time they hit the field it will be for a game that actually matters.
That game will be next Sunday, September 8th when the New York Giants visit AT&T Stadium. There are a lot of reasons to believe that the Cowboys are the team to beat in that matchup, they boast the better team overall.
Part of what makes the Cowboys such a great team is their great running back, Ezekiel Elliott. The thing is, Zeke has been absent from the team since true preparation for the season began; he’s held out from training camp all the way to where we are now, the end of the preseason. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of an end here, but nevertheless some people have remained optimistic that a deal between the league’s reigning rushing champion and the Cowboys can be made.
That doesn’t sound likely to Jerry Jones. Speaking to the media following the preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jerry Jones iterated that he believes the Cowboys will play their Week 1 game without Ezekiel Elliott. Yes. Without.
Jerry Jones says he fully expects Cowboys to play Giants without Ezekiel Elliott.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 30, 2019
“I just accept that” Zeke will miss games, Jerry said. “He can’t and won’t miss them all.”
Does the possibility of not having Ezekiel Elliott to start the season change Jerry Jones' expectations for this Cowboys season?— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 30, 2019
Jones: "No. He can't, and won't, miss them all. We need Zeke. We're a better team with Zeke." https://t.co/Ixo48Aq8zq
The first three games of the season do not appear to be too daunting for the Cowboys. They will host the New York Giants, visit the Washington Redskins, and host the Miami Dolphins. It makes sense for them to feel confident ahead of that slate.
Jerry uttering these words is very significant, though. He’s been the most optimistic (at least vocally) member of the front office regarding Elliott so for him to wave a white flag of sorts to any degree suggests that contract negotiations are truly not going well.
Of course, it’s possible that this is all just posturing from Jerry. Perhaps by saying this it will put more pressure on Elliott to show as the true business has officially begun. So much about these negotiations are a game of politics, it’s all about who plays the game better.