The Dallas Cowboys’ “Dynamic Duo” of Rookies
The Dallas Cowboys 2015 nightmare began in the second game of the 2015 season when Starting QB Tony Romo joined Pro-Bowl WR Dez Bryant on the sidelines with a serious collarbone issue. There was hope when Bryant returned to the lineup in week 8, followed by Romo, who promptly went down with a second collarbone injury to end his season and destroy any hope that may have been remaining. The nightmare didn’t end until the team’s January 4 loss to the Washington Redskins, capping a forgettable 4-12 season.
With Romo and Bryant healthy, 2016 would be a new season and Cowboys fans had high hopes for a big rebound. Even online gamblers had reason to use their Betfred promo code to bet on the Cowboys. Unfortunately, neither Romo nor leading RB Darren McFadden was able to make it out of the preseason without getting injured. With owner Jerry Jones and Head Coach Jason Garrett faced with the prospects of a repeat of the 2015 nightmare, they did what any rational football man would do, they put the team’s season firmly in the hands of two highly touted rookies.
With former All-Pro RB McFadden already on the roster, Jones puzzled the football world by drafting Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliot with the 4th overall pick. His talent certainly warranted being drafted in that spot, but the Cowboys needed a QB. Not moved by desperation, Jones and the Cowboys stuck to their guns and simply drafted the best available player.
It wasn’t until the 4th round that the Cowboys drafted a QB when they picked up the athletic, under-vetted Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State. While both players were widely expected to be sitting in the #2 slot on the depth chart for their respective positions to start the season, they suddenly found themselves thrust into starting roles as the Cowboys ran onto the field in week 1 versus the New York Giants, a game the would lose by a single point at home.
Neither player looked particularly sharp, though Elliot did score the first touchdown of his career an on 8-yard run early in the 3rd quarter. In the second game of the season, Prescott impressed with 22-30 passing for 292 with no TDs, but no turnovers as well. Elliot looked a little more comfortable, picking up 83 yards and another TD in the team’s first victory of the season.
By the third game of the season, Cowboys fans were perched on the edge of their collective seats, wondering “what have we here?” During the team’s blowout win over the Chicago Bears 31-17, Elliot exploded for 140 yards on 30 carries while Prescott completed almost 80% of his passes, including the first TD pass of his pro career. The team has never looked back.
Coming into week 10, the dynamic duo has reignited America’s team. The Cowboys are sitting at the top of the NFC Conference with a record of 7-1. Prescott has completed 67% of his passes for 2,020 yards with 12 TDs against only 2 interceptions. He has also rushed for 125 yards and 4 TDs. All Elliot has done is lead the league in rushing with 891 yards and 7 TDs. Based on his rushing yardage at the halfway point, he certainly has a realistic shot of topping Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards on the season.
With Romo just about ready to rejoin the team on the field, Jones has to be realistic about what Prescott and Elliot (Batman and Robin) have brought to this team. With the playoffs almost a certainty, one would have to guess Romo stays on the sidelines unless and until Prescott stumbles and falls. Until then, Dallas would seem safe in the hands of its rookie superheroes.