Two years ago, the Dallas Cowboys drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. I was completely against the pick. I thought Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Lance Dunbar (now with the Rams) would be good enough to carry the offense.
After a stellar rookie season that saw Zeke rush for over 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns and the Cowboys win the NFC East with 13 wins, I was coming around to the pick. Now, the NFL has suspended him for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy and the Cowboys look like a mess without him.
He has missed two games and the Cowboys are 0-2 and they only have one touchdown that came on a short field. As the offense struggles, that puts the defense on the field more and as the game wears on, they get tired. In the first half of the last two games, they have given up 17 points and in the second half, 47.
While the entire Cowboys offense looks atrocious without Zeke, Dak Prescott in particular looks like he has regressed. He can't hit his targets and he has turned the ball over six times the last two games.
Another reason why Dak is struggling since Zeke was suspended is opponents do not have to stack the box which puts more pressure on the receivers to get open and the bootlegs and play-action passes are not fooling anyone.
Zeke is the identity of the Cowboys and right now they are missing their identity.
Yes, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith are great players who have huge impacts on this team and they have not missed the last couple of games as well, but from what I've seen, Zeke is the MVP of this team.
It also doesn't help that the coaching staff doesn't know how to adjust at halftime but that's for another time.
The Cowboys are now 5-5 and a game and a half behind the Seahawks for the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture. Ezekiel Elliott comes back week 15 against the Seahawks.
Can the Cowboys survive until he gets back? Right now, I don't think they can. This team can only go as far as Zeke will take them and with him off the field, he can't take them anywhere.