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Linehan: Morris “Probably” Gets First Chance In Expected RB Committee
FRISCO, Texas – With Ezekiel Elliott currently suspended, Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Alfred Morris “probably” would get the first opportunity at running back Sunday against the Chiefs, but he emphasized that all three of Elliott’s backups – Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden – are in the mix.
Linehan said playing time and rotations are still being discussed throughout the week of practice as the Cowboys prepare without their leading rusher.
Morris has been the primary backup in the first seven games with 13 carries for 105 yards.
“I think he’ll probably the get the first shot, yeah,” Linehan said. “I think we’re really kind of not putting ourselves in a position where we’re saying, this guy’s playing this many plays or whatever. But it would be safe to say that he’s going to have a good opportunity to be the guy that gets the first crack at it, but they’re all going to play at some point.”
Smith, a third-year pro who has moved back to running back this season after a brief switch to fullback, has 10 carries for 69 yards and 2 catches for 23 yards.
McFadden, the team’s leading rusher in 2015 – the season before Elliott got drafted No. 4 overall – has been inactive the first seven games.
The offense is accustomed to Elliott in a featured role. In the first seven games, he played in 83.8 percent of the offensive snaps (402 of 480) and handled 164 of 215 total carries for 690 yards and 6 touchdowns.
As long as Elliott is out – his suspension is currently slated for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy – the Cowboys could be looking at a committee approach.
“There’s some freshness and newness to this, so we’ll see how that plays out,” Linehan said. “But you certainly want to give guys an opportunity to go in there and play well and stay in there. I have confidence all three of them are going to have, at some point, an impact for us.”
Linehan said he told starter Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ quarterbacks that “nothing changes” regarding the way the offense would be run without Elliott.
“Just because there’s somebody else in there, we’ve got the same expectation for our offense,” Linehan said, “and we’ll move forward.” Read