Position Battle Blog: The Battle For The Third Running Back Spot – Dallas Cowboys News

Position Battle Blog: The Battle For The Third Running Back Spot – Dallas Cowboys News

(Editor’s Note: Throughout training camp, Bryan Broaddus will break down every position battle on the roster, analyzing players’ roles and their impact in practice.)


I don’t believe there is any question about the first two running backs in the rotation, with Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden occupying the top two spots. How things are handled behind them is where the biggest questions are going to take place. 


  • Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and newly signed Ronnie Hillman are battling for that third spot. 
  • Morris and Hillman are more accomplished than Smith when it comes to NFL game experience at the position.
  • Where Smith has the advantage over Morris and Hillman is his ability to line up and play on special teams, which he has for special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia. 
  • Several key members of the Cowboys’ front office – owner/general manager Jerry Jones, executive vice president Stephen Jones and vice president of player personnel Will McClay — have always spoken on the importance of the third running back having that ability to play on special teams. 
  • When it has come to the practice rotation of snaps, Smith has been receiving more than Morris. It could be to get a better look at Smith in those situations or out of respect to Morris to not run him with the third offense. 
  • For the Chargers, Hillman was the third-down back and will likely be asked to play in a similar role in this camp. There are those in the front office that believe he still has the ability to be a weapon when on the field. 
  • The club has protected itself in case something comes out negatively from the league…

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