FRISCO, Texas – Head coach Jason Garrett said he's leaning toward playing Ezekiel Elliott against the Raiders on Saturday in what would be his first appearance this preseason.
Elliott took first-team reps in practice Wednesday. The All-Pro running back is facing a six-game suspension for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. He's appealing the league's decision.
"I think the biggest thing is just having the mindset of preparing him for Week 1 of the season," Garrett said. "That's the approach we're taking. He got a number of more reps in training camp than he did last year.
"That's the approach we've taken with him. Anything beyond that, we'll take as it comes."
Elliott is eligible for all preseason practices and games, but the Cowboys have rested him in the first three games, knowing the physical toll the running back position typically takes. If Elliott does play Saturday, Garrett said it'll be a similar workload to his lone preseason appearance last year against Seattle: 8 to 12 snaps.
Garrett also said first-year linebacker Jaylon Smith is expected to play at least as many snaps (12) as he did last Saturday against the Colts.