The Dallas Cowboys were elite offensively last year without maximizing Ezekiel Elliott. Can the new coaching staff better utilize Zeke in 2020?
The Dallas Cowboys are currently in an optimal position, save for a botched negotiation or two. While the negotiations with their current signal-caller are a cloud that will cover the organization until the situation is resolved in one way or another, the Cowboys seem to be sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle headed towards good things.
Coming off of the disappointment of last year, a season that saw the 8-8 Cowboys underachieve mightily, they were still able to achieve some good things. Regardless of whether we all want to acknowledge them are a different story.
Some will point to the fact that this Cowboys team found themselves playing from behind more than they should have been, forced to pass for quick offense. Regardless of if that take is right or not, this Dallas team still led the entire league in offense from a yardage per game perspective, averaging 431.5 yards in 2019.
And they did so with running back Ezekiel Elliott having a down year. I can’t speak towards the reason for his step back in performance. But from a numbers perspective, it’s there though.
In 16-games, Elliott rushed for 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per carry in 2019. He also brought in 54 passes for 420 yards and two more scores. All of these numbers except for rushing touchdowns where down from the previous year, when Elliott played in one less game.
It could be that Elliott simply had a down year, which happens in professional sports. It could also be a case of where the Cowboys were forced to pass more while playing catch up.
Elliott’s standard amount of involvement and touches were cut short. He had 301 rushing attempts in 2019, the lowest of his four-year career outside of the suspension-shortened 2017 season.
Regardless of the reasons, there should have been more Elliott injected into those gameplans last year. That’s something that has led to a massive amount of anticipation for this upcoming season.
If the Cowboys can somehow manage to keep that same offensive proficiency, while also finding a way to get more out of Zeke in the coming season, then things could be explosive and volatile for opposing defenses.
While the Dallas Cowboys will certainly have to ensure that their offensive line is properly fortified, especially after the sudden retirement of All-Pro center Travis Frederick, their draft and free-agent movement has been encouraging. Hopefully, everything remains on schedule in light of our current world scenario because if it does, that Week One Sunday night game in Los Angeles should reveal quite a bit.