In off-season Cowboys news, running back Darren McFadden has reportedly suffered a broken elbow that occurred during a fall at his residence. The injury, which occurred during the Memorial Day weekend according to CBS Local, will sideline McFadden for approximately two months.
The Cowboys’ running back practiced with the team for a full week before the injury was discovered, prompting head coach Jason Garrett to praise McFadden for his toughness in dealing with the elbow injury.
“He’s a tough guy. That’s one of the things we know about McFadden,” Garrett said. “He didn’t say anything to anybody. At the end of the week, he went to our trainers. The X-rays certainly helped us identify what the problem was.”
There is depth at running back on the Cowboys’ roster, and as FOX Sports reports, Garrett is thankful that there are others who can step up in McFadden’s absence.
“You want to be deep at all positions,” said Garrett. “It’s hard to do that in the NFL in this day and age with the salary caps and the like, but it’s good to have quality football players at that spot with this injury.”
Despite already having a quality back such as Darren McFadden on the team, Dallas chose to spend their first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on Ohio State star Ezekiel Elliott. The team further bolstered the position by signing former Washington running back Alfred Morris, who had several very productive years for the Redskins.
McFadden, who has mostly been a disappointment during his eight years in the NFL, had an outstanding first season with Dallas in 2015. He rushed for 1,089 yards (averaging 4.6 yards per carry), and tallied 1,417 totals yards from scrimmage — putting his productivity among the league’s best last season.
McFadden has earned the reputation of being injury-prone over the course of his professional career, but he hasn’t missed a game since 2013. That streak could be in jeopardy given this latest setback, however.
Darren McFadden was originally a first-round draft pick (No. 4 overall) of the Oakland Raiders in 2008. While McFadden’s talent was unquestioned, he struggled with various injuries and never fulfilled his potential while playing for the Raiders.
After becoming a free agent following the 2014 season, McFadden was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in March 2015. He was signed as a backup running back but quickly found himself in the starting lineup upon joining the team. In recent off-season workouts, McFadden had been splitting first-team reps with Ezekiel Elliott, who coincidentally was also a No. 4 overall draft choice.
Now that Darren McFadden will be lost for an extended period of time, Ezekiel Elliott will be expected to take on a more prominent role in the Cowboys’ offense. Elliott is a rookie but has a great deal of talent, which he reportedly has been putting on display during organized team activities (OTAs).
If Elliott falters, Dallas can turn to the aforementioned Morris, who brings an impressive resume to the Cowboys. Morris started 64 consecutive games for Washington over a four-year period, rushing for 4,713 yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2013 and 2014 seasons, so he is a proven commodity that the Cowboys can lean on, if needed.
If Ezekiel Elliott plays well in McFadden’s absence, the future may be now for the Cowboys’ young running back. Darren McFadden, however, will not give up his starting spot without a fight…and that type of internal competition can only make the Cowboys a better team in the long run.
[Photo by Michael Ainsworth/AP Images]