Former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy believes the Dallas Cowboys can earn a playoff berth without Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.
With the news that the Dallas Cowboys are preparing to play their first game of the regular season without their All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, there’s a real concern the two-time NFL rushing leader’s current holdout could damage the team’s playoff chances this season.
For months, the Cowboys and Elliott’s representatives have been in negotiations over restructuring/extending the third-year player’s contract in Dallas, that’s despite there being two years remaining on his current deal. As a result, the 24-year old is in the midst of a holdout, having missed all of training camp and the entire preseason. already
With only eight days remaining before the Cowboys’ regular-season opener versus the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium, it seems very likely that Elliott’s holdout will extend into the regular season. It’s a sad and humbling truth that owner and general manager Jerry Jones seems to have reluctantly admitted to himself and to the press recently.
Now the question shifts to can the Cowboys win without Elliott? One Hall of Fame head coach believes they can. In fact, he says Dallas is a playoff team without Zeke.
During an interview on The Rich Eisen Show on Friday, former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy indicated he believes the Cowboys can find substantial success without Elliott in the backfield – but only up to a point.
Here’s Dungy’s response when asked by host Rich Eisen if he believes the Cowboys need Elliott to play Week One in order to win a Super Bowl this season.
“I don’t think they do. I think they can win it without [Elliott] being there all the time. But I think when you get to the playoffs, he’s got to be up and running and ready to go. I think they can compete, they can get in the playoffs even if he’s not there the whole time. But I don’t think they could go those four weeks against a top team without him.”
The Dallas Cowboys appear to believe they have found a suitable stand-in for Ezekiel Elliott in fourth-round rookie running back Tony Pollard. And the former Memphis Tiger should get the start against the New York Giants Week One and beyond. But there is no arguing the fact that the Cowboys are a better team with Elliott in the fold. And the sooner they can reach an agreement on his current contract situation, the better it will be for the Cowboys in the standings.