They were the jewels of the 2016 Draft. Now, they’re at the center of a Cowboys storm of frustration.
The careers of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are at a crossroads, as the Cowboys head into another offseason after Sunday’s 19-12 divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
There is no shame losing in the playoffs on the road to a better team, but the way the Cowboys lost and who was responsible is the issue. And, yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, with Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore feeling the ire of a fanbase starved for real success.
The loss of Tony Pollard, who’s long surpassed Elliott as the lead back also hurt. But injuries happen.
Incompetence and ineffectiveness are another, more serious issue. One that, in some ways, holds the franchise hostage.
Prescott and Elliott broke in together seven years ago under vastly different circumstances. Elliott, as the No. 4 pick out of Ohio State, was supposed to carry the offensive load, taking pressure Tony Romo. Prescott was just supposed be Romo’s backup’s backup.
As we know, fate had other plans for Prescott. The franchise was placed in his hands … and that decision is looking more and more foolish.
One week after a performance that many called the best of his career in a 31-14 win over Tampa Bay, the Dak that underwhelmed often returned. Prescott threw two interceptions – and had another dropped that should have been a pick-6.
This after a regular season when he led the NFL in interceptions, despite missing five games to injury. Prescott missed open receivers Sunday, including a wide-open Michael Gallup that could have tied the game late in the fourth.
That’s all well and good, but what does that matter going forward if Prescott isn’t the guy? As much as everyone inside The Star wants it to work, maybe it just won’t and it’s time to consider alternatives.
There should be no such discussion with Zeke, at his ineffective best against the 49ers. His best days are long gone. His contract is an albatross, though cutting him this offseason is financially feasible. Take the near $12 million cap hit and possibly move on with free agent Pollard or burn a middle-round pick in the draft on running back.
It wasn’t that long ago that Dak and Zeke were the cornerstones of a franchise on the rise. Now, they feel like stones just weighing down a sinking ship.
You can follow Art Garcia on Twitter @ArtGarcia92.
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