With the departure of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten retiring this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly become a run-first football team, but some members of the franchise's fanbase can't quite believe the plans the team has for the offense next season.
Ezekiel Elliott is widely regarded by many as one of the best running backs in the NFL today, and he certainly has the numbers to back it. After two seasons in the league, he's had 564 carries for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
While his numbers did go down in his second year due to his suspension, these numbers are expected to rise again in 2018, or so you would think. The Cowboys reportedly have an interesting idea for the offense which could put Elliott's potential bounce-back season in jeopardy.
Back at the end of April, the Cowboys traded a sixth-round draft pick with the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for wide receiver Tavon Austin. Despite being a quick player, you wouldn't think he would have a huge effect on the team's offense because he's been unproductive.
According to Josh Norris of Rotoworld, Austin will play a big role in Dallas' offense. Norris recently attended a Cowboys press conference where executive vice president Stephen Jones said they want Austin to play in a web back role and get him the ball a dozen to two dozen times per game, plus return game on top of that.
As you'd expect, many Cowboys fans can't believe the team is planning on giving Austin this many touches per game, and they don't understand why they want to take plays away in the running game from Elliott.
Most likely, Jones just meant touches of the ball overall on offense and return game, as 12-24 touches a game seems too much just on offense alone.
Austin is a good rusher, but he is by no means anywhere near on the same level as Elliott. Over the duration of his five seasons in the NFL, the wide receiver has rushed for 1,238 yards on 184 carries, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and scoring nine touchdowns.
With Bryant having been released by the Cowboys last month, there will be plenty of targets to go around in their offense next season. Austin is now going from hardly being used in the Rams’ offense last season, to what looks set out to be a major player in the Cowboys offense.