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May 6, 2024

Reading the Room: Cowboys Playing Russian Roulette at Running Back

As we dive into the Dallas Cowboys' strategic playbook for the upcoming season, it becomes increasingly clear that the team's approach to managing its running back (RB) roster is fraught with uncertainty and risk. Jerry Jones' "All-In" strategy, which has raised eyebrows with its quarterback decisions, extends into even murkier waters when we examine the situation at running back. Opting out of a strong free-agent market and making questionable draft choices, the Cowboys seem to be gambling with their backfield, a move that could have significant repercussions for their offensive game.

Reading the Room: Cowboys Playing Russian Roulette at Running Back

Key Takeaways:

  • The Cowboys overlooked a talented pool of free-agent running backs, raising questions about their recruitment strategy.
  • Draft decisions have left the team with a less-than-ideal setup at running back, relying on veterans and unproven talent.
  • Ezekiel Elliott, despite his experience, may not be the RB1 the Cowboys desperately need.

The Cowboys' decision to pass on a rich free-agent market, including names like Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley, was the first sign of a risky strategy. The draft didn't offer much solace, as the team prioritized an edge rusher over available running back talent. This approach suggests a reliance on veteran Ezekiel Elliott to recapture his prime form, a gamble that ignores the realities of athlete performance over time.

Currently, the Cowboys roster features eight running backs, each vying for a spot in a team that seems unsure of its direction. Elliott, despite a less-than-stellar season with the Patriots, is pegged as RB1. However, his projected performance and the overall state of the Cowboys' running game do not instill confidence. The supporting cast, including Rico Dowdle and the under-utilized JaQuan Hardy, presents a mix of unfulfilled potential and limited impact.

The New Kids in Town:

  • Royce Freeman, despite a fluctuating career, offers a glimmer of hope if he can capitalize on his recent uptick with the Rams.
  • Newcomers Snoop Conner and Nathaniel Peat, while not immediate threats for the RB1 spot, add depth but underscore the uncertainty in Dallas' backfield strategy.

The Cowboys' approach to their running back roster resembles a game of Russian roulette, where the stakes are high, and the outcomes are unpredictable. This strategy not only reflects a questionable evaluation of available talent but also highlights a broader issue within the team's recruitment and development philosophy. As the season approaches, the Cowboys' running game will be under intense scrutiny, with fans and analysts alike questioning whether this gamble will pay off or if it will further complicate Dallas' quest for success.

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