The Dallas Cowboys have been at training camp for well over a week now and there is still no sign of Ezekiel Elliott.
The NFL’s leading rusher in two of the last three seasons is seeking a contract extension from America’s Team and is obviously hopeful that a holdout will aid in that quest. Whether it ultimately does or doesn’t remains to be seen, but the Cowboys have had to carry on with the running backs that they already had, plus one.
Dallas added Alfred Morris to the fold last week and now has a stable of runners with varying levels of optimism surrounding them. Perhaps there is no one more suited to be the lead back in a true Elliott absence than Morris as he’s the only one of the crew who has actually done that before (back in 2017 when Elliott was suspended).
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent part of the weekend in Canton, Ohio presenting Gil Brandt into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was on hand in Oxnard on Sunday, though, for the team’s annual blue and white scrimmage, and afterwards he did an interview with DallasCowboys.com.
While talking about the running backs and how they fared on Sunday, Jerry specifically brought up Alfred Morris. What’s more is that he went as far as saying that Gary Brown (the Cowboys running backs coach) said in recent days that Morris has the best feel of any runner that he’s ever seen.
“But I hope you noticed Alfred Morris. Morris got up in there. And our running back coach was talking about Alfred when he was here two years ago, three years ago. When he would spell Zeke.
And he said just the other day, ‘Alfred Morris has the ability to run with our coached blocking style and the philosophy we have with our running game. He has the best feel of any back I’ve ever seen.’
So he sees the soft spots, you saw some of it today.”
Jerry Jones is a very calculated person, especially when he goes behind a microphone and camera, so these words are very interesting. Obviously Gary Brown has coached Ezekiel Elliott so insinuating that Morris is better than him at anything during the former’s holdout is sure to raise some eyebrows.
There are many that initially thought that bringing Morris in was indeed some sort of message to Zeke in that the Cowboys were now prepared for his potential absence. With all due respect to Alfred Morris, he is nowhere near the runner that Elliott is, but is Jerry trying to sell the message that he is? He brought up Morris completely on his own and was specific to get this nugget out there.
Contract negotiations can be difficult and often involve lots of moving parts that sometime can include public posturing. Perhaps Jerry is indeed trying to imply that the Cowboys are fine with whatever stance they have, or perhaps he was actually serious with everything that he said. Both are possible.
But in the moment that we find ourselves with Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout... which do you think it was?