Cowboys prepare for life without Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) heads to the field for the game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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If you thought this story was going anywhere, think again.

Less than 24 hours removed from Judge Katherine Failla's decision to deny Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott a preliminary injunction, the case had already moved to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, where Elliott's legal team is throwing up a Hail Mary,  hoping to again put the suspension on hold.

Meanwhile, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to defend his running back, and take shots at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I'm sure he'd like to take back his initial Ray Rice stance, and a few others," Jones said of Goodell. "And he's in the process of having tried to correct that, and in doing so, Zeke is a victim of an over-correction."

As Elliott, his legal team, and Jones continue to battle this out in the courts -- both legal and public opinion -- Elliott's teammates have no choice but to prepare for life without him.

"Zeke is the head honcho in our room right now, but like I said, it ain't gonna be no slowing down," fellow running back Rod Smith said. "We're going to keep going."

Running backs Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith -- in that order -- will be the insurance policy in Elliott's absence.

"All the confidence in the world," Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin said of the trio. "I mean, these guys have run for a bunch of yards in this league, and they've run with us too. So, they're great backs, and we're looking forward to seeing them play."

Importantly -- the Cowboys offensive line has gotten rolling in recent weeks... which could set up this backfield committee to be effective.

"The chemistry, you can see the chemistry there -- with the offensive line, and the running backs, and the receivers," Smith added. "You can just see the chemistry starting to flow."

Chemistry, and it sounds like confidence, too.

"Ain't slowing nothing down -- just going out there and keeping the ball rolling," Smith said. "We're gonna take care of that, and we'll have the seat hot and ready for him when he gets back."

We'll see if they can make that happen, as the Cowboys begin the toughest three game stretch of their season, likely without #21 in the backfield.