We saw Dak Prescott nearly throw the ball 60 times last Thursday and Ezekiel Elliott only carried the ball 11 times. The offense looked impressive, but do you believe Prescott and this Cowboys offense can succeed without Elliott playing at an elite level?
Juwan: I do. I’ve said for years now that I find it unnecessary to pay a high price tag for a quarterback, running back and wide receiver, along with having one of the highest-paid offensive lines in the league. In that you sacrifice your ability to build a balanced team. We saw last year the offense was forced to play at a high level in order for the team to be competitive because of them being devoid of defensive talent. If you’re going to pay your quarterback to be a top-five player than he shouldn’t need his running back to be Pro Bowl caliber. In the same breathe, Elliott isn’t the type of back who needs 25 carries to be impactful.
Nate: Simply put, yes. Paying Elliott was one of the biggest mistakes Dallas has made in recent years, and it’s no fault of Zeke’s. He is still a very good back, but dedicating a significant portion of your salary cap to the most replaceable position in sports is not good business. The offense doesn’t need an elite running back to succeed because it has elite weapons on the outside, a great playcaller, and most importantly, an elite quarterback. Anything extra that Elliott provides is gravy.
How big of an impact does the injury to Michael Gallup have on this offense?
Juwan: That’s an interesting question because it’ll for sure impact this offense, but I do not believe it’ll make a large impact on their ability to look how they did in week one. Not to sound like I’m playing both sides of the field, but since Dallas has devoted so many resources to that side of the ball they are capable of losing their third receiver. Gallup’s production should be able to be divided among Elliott, Tony Pollard, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Shultz. How the offense looks is altered, but how it performs shouldn’t take a large impact. Especially considering there aren’t many elite defenses Dallas will run into during his absence.
Nate: As I said in my column this morning (read here), it certainly hurts. You need two or three reliable pass catchers to be an elite offense and Dallas still has Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Cooper was phenomenal in Tampa. Lamb certainly was not at his best and made some big mistakes, but still hauled in seven balls for 104 yards and a touchdown. Losing one of the better deep threats in football for three-to-five weeks is not ideal, but Dallas has the horses to pick up the slack and Cedrick Wilson has shown flashes in the past. Wilson’s first big breakout game came in Seattle in 2020 when he caught five passes for 102 yards and two scores. Dallas needs Gallup going forward but Dak Prescott has been playing at a high enough level to keep the offense humming without Gallup. The Gallup injury absolutely hurts the offense and this is not to say Gallup isn’t an important player, but Dallas can get by for a few weeks without him.
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