FRISCO - The subject comes up anew because of Amari Cooper's public pronouncement of "expectations'' that the 2020 Dallas Cowboys will feature an almost unprecedented trio of 1,000-yard wide receivers.
That subject? Are there going to be enough balls to go around for all of QB Dak Prescott's offensive weapons?
Mike McCarthy, no dummy, has already handled this issue; he has a plan for two-time NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott.
But just in case non-believers need to be convinced?
"We all gonna EAT,'' Elliott tweeted on Wednesday morning. "Don’t try to start that messy (crap.).''
Elliott's response is as honest and as natural as the question posed by our colleague Ed Werder. Three 1,000-yard wide receivers. A tight end as part of the focus. The use of a multi-purpose backup runner.
Enough balls to go around?
Understand, though, that Dallas almost did all of those things last year, and three receivers, a tight end and Zeke all put up big numbers. And also understand that McCarthy long ago began calculating for this.
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“First off, with Zeke, he’s going to get the football,” said McCarthy, the Dallas Cowboys new head coach. “Let’s make no mistake about that.''
That's a fine answer to what smart football watchers know is a silly question - if the question is about Zeke still being "featured.'' The Cowboys, following a painful 2019 holdout, in September signed Elliott to the richest running back contract in NFL history. He may be used differently under McCarthy and to prolong his career he may even be used less (which was the entire point of last year's draft selection of multi-purpose back Tony Pollard.)
But when Zeke plays an entire season (as he's done three times in four years (derailed just one year by a suspension), he's a 1,300-yards rusher who averaged 98 yards per game. He also caught 54 passes for 420 receiving yards and two touchdowns, exhibiting a skill set of the sort that McCarthy has featured way back to 2001 with Ricky Williams in New Orleans.
Some Cowboys critics are misunderstanding the coach's "Feed Zeke'' commitment, wrongly guessing that that concept takes away from an emphasis on the development of Dak Prescott. But McCarthy acknowledges that Dak - coming off his best statistical year as a passer (with 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions) is some game-winning tinkering away from taking another step forward.
He did that in Green Bay with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. He vows to do it here.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Dak,” McCarthy said. “Our offensive system will be built around making the quarterback successful. That’s the way I’ve learned it. That’s the way I believe you play offense. We have a great one here to work with.”
But wait ... Is that a conflict of sorts? Claiming to be building the offense around Dak while also claiming he'll "Feed Zeke''? We can promise you McCarthy issued the same commitment (complete with details) when he proposed to the Jones family his thoughts on the two backfield stars.
"The best way to make (a quarterback) successful is a great run game,'' McCarthy said. "We clearly understand what we have here.”
In other words: Don't start that messy (crap). They're all gonna EAT.