Posted on July 15, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Even though he played well enough to be named the Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, he still has plenty of non-believers. There are those who believe Ezekiel Elliot deserves the credit over Prescott. They think with defenses keying on Elliot, Prescott had it easy.
Well—if you listen to the rumor mill, it sounds like Prescott may get a shot to prove he deserves just as much credit as Elliot does. He may start the season without the services of his star running back.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday that Elliot and his people are preparing a response to the league. They are expecting to be told he will be suspended for a game or two.
“Ezekiel Elliott at this point in time is bracing for a short suspension,” Schefter said. “Maybe one game, maybe two games, but as one person told me, in quotes, ‘It looks like the NFL is trying to pin something on him.’”
The NFL, of course, denies that any decision has been made. But Schefter has a source that told him, ”The NFL is looking to pin something on him.”
Last summer, Elliot was accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend. The authorities in Ohio were able to complete their investigation and make a decision regarding charges. But the NFL let the case drag on throughout the entire 2016 season and on into the summer.
There have been rumors that a decision was coming. Back in March, Cowboys beat reporter Clarence Hill told PFT Live that Elliot has been told that he would not be punished (h/t PFT). But there has yet to be an actual announcement of any kind.
Should he miss the first two games of the season, the team will have to do without him against two of the best defenses in the NFL, the New York Giants (Week One; No. 10 last season) and the Denver Broncos (Week Two; No. 4 last season).
With Elliot in the game, the Giants and Broncos would game plan to stop him and force Prescott to beat them. Without Elliot in the game, both teams will go all out to make Prescott miserable and let their base defense take care of the Dallas run game.
Prescott played well in a conservatively called game to start the season last year, but the Giants still won. In the second game, even though Elliot did gain over 100 yards, the Giants defense dominated the contest. He has yet to face Von Miller and the Denver defense yet.
It is not hard to imagine Prescott struggling against both teams without Elliot taking some pressure off. Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris will do their best, of course, but they are certainly not good enough to replace Elliot’s production.
However, at the same time, Prescott is a year older (and wiser). He’s been in the system as the starter for a full season and now a full offseason. There will be no need to limit the offense like the team did to start the season.
Maybe this time around, his game will be up to snuff. Maybe this time, he can take pressure off the running game and help McFadden and Morris out. Maybe – just maybe – he can take the lemons he has and turn them into lemonade.
But what is more likely, is if the league decides to suspend Elliot for even one game, the Cowboys will appeal the decision. If Elliot’s appeal is anything like Tom Brady’s, the Cowboys may not have to worry about losing Elliot for a game or two until next season.
And Jerry Jones will make sure he ends up being suspended against the weakest opponent the Cowboys play.