Terrifying news for Cowboys fans – Ezekiel Elliott could be looking at a 1-2 game suspension to start the season! This stems from an incident in February 2016 that he’s in the clear for. He was never charged with anything. It’s unclear to me why the NFL would be coming after him. (Maybe the St. Patrick’s Day Parade incident?)
Here’s Adam Schefter on ESPN today:
“Growing sense that he could face some sort of short suspension here in the coming weeks … I think Zeke Elliott is bracing for a short suspension here in the coming weeks.”
I actually don’t think this would be the worst thing in the world for Dallas. I keep coming back to Tom Brady’s ‘vacation’ last year in New England, where he was suspended for the first four games of the season. He didn’t take any hits for a month, was completely fresh, and had an MVP-caliber season.
Let’s look at Elliot. He was a workhorse as a rookie, carrying 322 times while winning Rookie of the Year. That’s a lot of carries for a rookie. The only comparable seasons for first-year players: Eric Dickerson carried 390 times in 1983 and Edgerrin James toting it 369 times in 1999.
The Rams ran Dickerson into the ground – he had 379 carries and a record-setting 2,105 yards in his 2nd year, when he was 24 years old. Dickerson’s last big year was his 7th, at the age of 29 when he rushed for 1,311 yards. Injuries mounted after that.
The same was true of Edgerrin James: After his monster rookie year, he carried 387 times in year two, was hurt in year three, and his last big season was also at the age of 29 (324 carries, 1,222 yards).
Elliott turns 22 this month. He absorbs punishing hits, blocks well, and catches passes. Hey, two games off to start the season may not be a bad thing!
Dallas has the best offensive line in the league, and two capable backups in Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. Opening against the Giants (Dallas went 0-2 against them last year) and in Denver won’t be easy without Elliott, but it’ll be challenging with him, too.