Is 2019 Super Bowl Must-Win For Cowboys?
Dak Prescott: Ezekiel Elliott no longer on 2017 'emotional roller-coaster,' which 'will do wonders for him' this season
The Dallas Cowboys are entering a key point in the future of the franchise ahead of the 2019 season. Jason Garrett’s men enjoyed a fine run to the Divisional Round of the post-season in 2018, only to be beaten by the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas have not reached the Super Bowl since they last lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy 23 years ago. The club are blessed with a talented core of young players, led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Both men have impressed greatly in their short time in the NFL and have been the foundation of the Cowboys’ success.
However, their rookie contracts are close to expiring and owner Jerry Jones faces a huge decision whether to lock down the two players on long-term extensions. Garrett’s side have won the NFC East division in three out of the last five seasons, but have come no closer to ending their Super Bowl drought even with Prescott and Elliott. They should be on course at least to challenge for the NFC Conference crown next term in the NFL picks given the quality on the roster. Given the situation regarding key contracts – it is the feeling of now or never for the Cowboys.
Elliott has been a superstar on the field for Dallas and has shown himself to be the more important asset than the quarterback Prescott. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons in the league, scoring 28 rushing touchdowns and another six receiving scores. When he has been on the field, Elliott has lived up to expectations and beyond after being selected fourth overall in the 2016 Draft. However, the problems have come off the field where Elliott’s maturity have come into question. He was suspended for six games for breaking the league's personal conduct policy, while another incident in 2019 resulted in a clear-the-air meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Whether the Cowboys seek to tie up significant resources in Elliott remains to be seen. Even on the field, there are dangers in handing large contracts to running backs, which the Rams could attest to in regards to Todd Gurley. It’s an important season for Elliott to prove that he has matured and has the durability to become a mainstay for the next five years in Dallas.
Prescott’s rise was a pleasant surprise for the club in 2016. He replaced the injured Tony Romo after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft. The standard of his performances resulted in him in displacing Romo as Dallas’ starter even when the veteran returned to fitness. Prescott couldn’t drive his team deep into the playoffs in 2016, losing in the Divisional Round to the Green Bay Packers. Prescott endured a sophomore slump in 2017, struggling to find his form with Elliott in and out of the line-up. The 25-year-old had similar problems last term until the arrival of Amari Cooper in a trade deal from the Oakland Raiders, although the ultimate success slipped through the hands of Prescott and company.
When the Cowboys have been at their best they have relied on three stars on offense. Whether it was Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin in the 1990s or more recently with Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. The new trifecta, but most importantly Prescott and Elliott have all attributes to lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. However, they have to prove it on the field in clutch moments as well as holding themselves accountable off-the-field to provide stability for the franchise’s long-term future.
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