The Dallas Cowboys may be short-handed in the backfield as Rico Dowdle left the team’s Week 4 matchup against the New England Patriots with a hip injury. Dowdle carved out a key role in the Cowboys offense winning the backup running back role in training camp.
The veteran was able to top the depth chart behind Tony Pollard and ahead of rookie Deuce Vaughn. Dowdle’s play prompted the eventual release of Ronald Jones II before the rusher ever took a snap for the Cowboys. The Dowdle injury news is concerning not only because the running back plays a key role in the offense, but the playmaker has a history of hip ailments.
“Cowboys RB Rico Dowdle suffered a hip fracture in August 2021 that ended his season,” The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken tweeted on October 1, 2023. “Hopefully this hip injury is nowhere near as severe.”
Rico Dowdle’s Injury Could Open up an Opportunity for Fan Favorite Deuce Vaughn
If Dowdle is forced to miss time, Vaughn would be the next man up in the Cowboys backfield. Heading into Week 4, Dowdle played an average of 17% of the snaps per game. Dallas also has running back-fullback hybrid Hunter Luepke on the roster who could see an uptick in snaps.
“Pass protection could cost Cowboys rookie RB Deuce Vaughn on-field opportunities in the future,” Gehlken added. “That is a strength of Rico Dowdle, whose hip injury knocked him out for game.”
DallasCowboys.com’s Patrik Walker reported that the initial X-rays of Dowdle’s hip were negative, but the running back is scheduled to get an MRI on Monday, October 2.
Ezekiel Elliott Had 6 Carries for 16 Yards in the New England Patriots’ Loss to the Dallas Cowboys
Heading into Week 4, the running back position was a major focus with Ezekiel Elliott making his return to Dallas wearing an opposing jersey for the first time. Elliott had a quiet outing notching six carries for 16 yards in the Patriots’ blowout loss to the Cowboys.
It is worth noting that New England was playing catchup for most of the game which made the game script less than favorable for Elliott. The former Cowboys star admitted it would be challenging not to have emotions during the game.
“It’s gonna be a little bit interesting, a little bit different, going against guys that I played with for so long, but I’m not really trying to focus so much on that,” Elliott noted during the September 27 conference call, per DallasCowboys.com’s Patrik Walker. “I’m trying to focus on going out and winning the football game.
“… I don’t really have a lot of time to be emotional. I have to prepare for the game and go out there and put my best foot forward. But, there are emotions. I may do a good job of hiding them. There will be some emotions, but I’ve gotta go out there and perform.”
If Dowdle is forced to miss extended time, it will be interesting to see if Dallas looks to add another veteran running back in the coming days.