Dallas Cowboys: Will this be a bounce-back year for Ezekiel Elliott?

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have a new coach, a few new faces along the offensive line, and another situation or two. What exactly does this mean for Ezekiel Elliott?

Up until a season or so ago, the Dallas Cowboys were known as a primarily run-first organization, behind the girth of their all-pro offensive line. While they still have a very talented group at the front of that offense, they have started to evolve into something else over the last couple of seasons.

Again, while that isn’t a knock on the offensive line, it’s more due to the budding trust in the arm of Dak Prescott to make plays. It is there though where the question lies. What does this mean for Ezekiel Elliott?

With the Dallas Cowboys leaning more towards getting it done through the air, that begs of this question. Is there any chance that Ezekiel Elliott can return to form? While he wasn’t awful last season, he wasn’t the same back that we have gotten used to seeing. Not only was his total yardage per from scrimmage per game the worst of his career, but his rushing yards per game were way down to 84.8 yards per game.

While this is just as much an indictment on the function of the offense, he needs to do all he can to ensure that those numbers don’t define his season this year. New Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t always been the most balanced in his playcalling over the years, criticizing his own teams for the lack of balance at times in Green Bay.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had a down year, by his standards, on last season. Can he bounce back this year?

You also take into account the fact that in all but one of his 13 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, he typically gave around a third of the rushing attempts to ball carriers other than the main guy. Consider the fact that Tony Pollard, the likely second main ball carrier, is a talented back in his own right. That could play a role in the situation as well.

With all that Mike McCarthy says that he took in during his time away from the game though, from player mechanics to the deeper analytics of the game, Zeke should see his fair share of touches and carries.

While a new face or two along the offensive line might be something that needs to be worked out early on in the season, he should be able to bounce back … to a point. You just struggle to imagine what that looks like with all the new moving parts, which include the new coach, system, offensive line questions, and other things.

That “other things” would include the team, Dak Prescott, or the coach trying to prove that Prescott is indeed worth the long term money that he’s looking for, which might be done by slinging the ball around the field. Perhaps that won’t even be a thing though, perhaps.

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Hopefully, everything breaks like it’s supposed to and McCarthy excels with his new learnings and philosophies as the new head man for America’s Team. Again though, I sure wonder what it all will look like and how it might lead to a bounce-back year from Elliott.