The veteran running back made a splash in his first game as a Cowboy in AT&T Stadium, capping off Tony Romo's second and final drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Morris showed impressive vision and burst on the play, pivoting out from behind a mass of bodies in the center of the field and shooting up left guard for his jaunt into the end zone. The former Redskin also added a 20-yard run during what was extensive playing time with 2016 first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) sitting out his second straight preseason contest. Morris' night certainly provided plenty of reason for optimism that the
The veteran back got the start and received his three carries on the opening possession before giving way to sixth-round pick Darius Jackson in the second drive. Morris ripped off a gain of nine yards on his first tote in a
Morris has a shot to solidify his roster spot in the absence of teammate Darren McFadden, who will likely miss most or all of training camp after undergoing surgery to address a fractured elbow, ESPN.com reports.
Morris presumably expected to push McFadden for the starting job after signing with Dallas in late March on a two-year, $3.5 million contract that has approximately $1.8 million in guarantees, including a $1 million signing bonus. While the cap-strapped Cowboys may have had some buyer's remorse once they drafted Ezekiel Elliott, it still seemed that the structure of Morris' contract all but assured the four-year veteran of a roster spot. With Elliott the presumed starter and McFadden now uncertain for Week 1, Morris will likely work with the second-team offense at the beginning of training camp, though he may have to hold off sixth-round rookie Darius Jackson, who put up elite marks in the 40-yard dash (sub-4.4), vertical jump (41 inches) and broad jump (133 inches) while checking in at 6-1, 220 pounds at his pro day. The Cowboys don't have a clear favorite for the backup work on passing downs, as Morris has just 47 career receptions and recently admitted that he's having a tough time learning the pass protections. Lance Dunbar (knee) would be an obvious choice if he were healthy, but he's still recovering from a torn ACL and MCL suffered in October.
There isn't really anything else for Morris to say, as his declining production and modest contract don't leave him in a position to complain or make demands. He was previously expected to compete with Darren McFadden for early-down work, but it now appears Ezekiel Elliott will serve as the lead back. As a likely backup with limited receiving skills, Morris has a difficult path to fantasy relevance. McFadden, or even sixth round pick Darius Jackson, may end up as the preferred handcuff for the Cowboys' prized rookie.
Coming off a disappointing final season in Washington, Morris found an ideal situation to re-establish himself, as the Cowboys have an excellent offensive line but an unimpressive group of running backs. That being said, Darren McFadden played well enough last season to get another crack at the starting job, and Lance Dunbar (knee) is tentatively expected to handle most of the passing-down work, when healthy. Morris will likely have to compete for his role, but if he's able to earn lead-back duties over McFadden, the situation is ripe for rushing production.
|2||9/18/16||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|4||10/2/16||@ SF||4:25 pm|
|6||10/16/16||@ GB||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 7|
|9||11/6/16||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|10||11/13/16||@ PIT||4:25 pm|
|13||12/1/16||@ MIN||8:25 pm|
|14||12/11/16||@ NYG||8:30 pm|
|17||1/1/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|