EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The status of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is very much undecided for Week 1, and it's possible the Giants will begin game-planning on Wednesday without knowing it for sure.
But that doesn't worry Ben McAdoo, who is putting his faith in a Giants defense that ranked third last season against the run.
"All backs run the same," McAdoo said, "when there's nowhere to run."
That's tough talk from the Giants coach, six days ahead of a possible matchup against one of the NFL's best running teams and last season's leading rusher. Elliott was a monster for the Cowboys last season, gaining 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns, powering a rushing attack that averaged 149.75 yards per game.
But the Giants were one of the Cowboys' toughest foes when it came to running the ball. They gave up only 88.6 yards per game on the ground. In the regular-season opener, Elliott was held to just 51 yards on 20 carries. When the teams faced off again in Week 14, Elliott carried 24 times for 107 yards -- a decent, but hardly great performance.
The Giants, of course, won both games. And McAdoo sounded confident that his run defense could do its job again, whether Elliott plays or not.
"Our goal is to do our job, to be prepared to stop the run," McAdoo said. "If he's playing, then great. If he's not, then that's great. We're going to play whoever suits up for them."
Whether it's Elliott or Darren McFadden could be clear on Tuesday, when the NFL's arbitrator, Harold Henderson, is expected to announce his ruling on Elliott's appeal of the six-game suspension he received for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. The violation stems from accusations of domestic violence made against Elliott last year.
But Henderson's ruling might not be final. The NFLPA has already filed for a temporary restraining order against the decision in a federal court in Texas. If it's granted, it would make Elliott eligible to play regardless of Henderson's decision until the matter is resolved in the courts.
It's unclear when that would happen, of course, but it certainly wouldn't make its way through the court system by Sunday night.
Not that it matters to McAdoo, who made it clear that his focus is on making sure his run defense is ready, no matter who the Cowboys running back is.