Even without Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys have faith in run game – NFC East

LOS ANGELES — As the Dallas Cowboys prepare for life without Ezekiel Elliott for six games, they still have confidence in what they can be offensively, especially in the running game.

In 2015, Darren McFadden finished fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,089 yards, and he did not become the Cowboys’ lead back until the sixth game of the season. Before the Cowboys drafted Elliott fourth overall, Alfred Morris was signed as a free agent in 2016 because he registered three 1,000-yard seasons with the Washington Redskins and he’s a good fit with the running system.

To be clear, neither guy is Elliott, who ran for 1,631 yards last season as a rookie and had 15 rushing touchdowns. His presence changes the dynamics of an offense because a defense has to know where he is on every single play.

“Obviously you lose a guy who’s very talented, but we’ve got a lot of guys who can run the football and run it very successfully in this league,” All-Pro right guard Zack Martin said. “We’re excited for those guys to get some touches, and I think they’ll be ready for the load.”

McFadden had five 100-yard games and two with more than 90 yards after taking over for Joseph Randle in 2015, and he did it with uneven quarterback play. Tony Romo started and finished just one game during McFadden’s spell as starter.

“It was a pretty good year,” McFadden said. “We still didn’t have our team at full strength, but it was a pretty good year. I don’t feel like I missed a beat. I didn’t play much last year, but I feel like I definitely can get back to that status.”

He was limited to 24 carries last season because of a broken elbow that kept him on the non-football injury list through the first 13 games.

“My body still feels good,” McFadden said. “I feel great, just getting out there running, just getting carries and getting warmed up. I’m definitely going to be able to handle a load.”

He might not have to. Since joining the Cowboys as offensive coordinator in 2014, Scott Linehan has relied heavily on one back. In 2014, DeMarco Murray had 392 carries for a league-leading 1,845 yards. McFadden had 239 carries in 2015 with Randle coming in second with 76. Elliott had 322 carries last season, with Morris coming in second with 69.

“I think it…

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