When and where: August 17, 2019, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI, 10:00 PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys table their contractual issues for a Week 2 preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. Neither team had the best of preseason openers the previous week with the Cowboys falling to the San Francisco 49ers and the Rams losing to the Oakland Raiders. Which team’s depth will reign supreme on Saturday?
No Zeke, no problem?
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes he’s found the answer to his Ezekiel Elliott problem. Drum roll, please?
Jones believes the rookie fourth-round draft pick is ready to spearhead the running attack behind quarterback Dak Prescott, while Elliott continues to hold out for a better contract.
“I certainly thought he had a good account of himself,” Jones said, according to David Helman of Cowboys.com via CBS Sports. “He looks confident out there, we know he’s inordinately understanding of what he does and can do. We’ve seen him do it, we know he’s capable of, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.”
Not to rain on the Pollard parade, but the Cowboys clearly aren’t contending for any championships without Elliott in the backfield. The entire situation in Dallas right now is playing out like that meme of a cartoon character sitting at a table in a burning building, telling himself everything is fine. Prescott is a solid game-managing quarterback capable of running a balanced offense that doesn’t exclusively go through him.
Pollard wasn’t even the best running back at Memphis. What makes Jones think he can stand in for an All-Pro and a two-time NFL rushing yards leader? The Cowboys were defeated on the road in the preseason opener last week by the San Francisco 49ers. Pollard got only four carries for 16 yards.
Episode 2 of The Process goes behind the scenes at the 49ers game and shows how competitive the players and coaches are in the bowling alley. pic.twitter.com/VqPwZwO1yB
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 15, 2019
Then there’s the Prescott dilemma. The former Mississippi State standout has put up 10,876 yards with 67 TDs and 25 picks in three years as a starter with an average quarterback rating of 96. He reportedly turned down a $30 million deal, which sounds ridiculous for somebody who has never won a playoff game. Yet in this market, where Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo are making outrageous money, he might be smart in asking for $40 million (though that report was shot down).
Don’t expect to see Todd Gurley in the preseason
The Rams are taking the cautious approach with franchise running back Todd Gurley, who was banged up down the stretch of the team’s failed Super Bowl run last season. One thing is certain: The Rams are a completely different offense when Gurley is 100 percent.
“Todd is feeling really good,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, via Bleacher Report. “He’s continuing to really show a lot of the things that make him such an elite player, and I think he’s feeling really good. It’s been a smart plan with Todd…and we’re going to continue to follow that.”
The plan McVay is alluding to would likely exclude Gurley from preseason activities in hopes he’ll be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season.
However, we should see quarterback Jared Goff at some point for the first time since his horrifying experience at Super Bowl LIII, when the New England Patriots completely shut him down and held the Rams offense to three points. The offense looked flat in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders, which could prompt McVay to roll Goff out for a drive or two to help instill confidence in the unit.
Two additions in the offseason that should help on the field are veteran safety Eric Weddle and former Green Bay All-Pro Clay Matthews.
“They’ve been great,” said Goff. “Weddle in particular, just finding his dialogue throughout practice and throughout the week, trying to get a better understanding of what they’re doing, then I’ll ask him what he sees.”
- Cowboys are 21-39 ATS as a favorite.
- Cowboys are 1-7 ATS as dogs against opponents off BB SU losses.
- Cowboys are 25-35 ATS as an underdog.
- Rams are 6-1 ATS after allowing 35 or more points.