Dallas Cowboys: Is Ezekiel Elliott being rightfully judged?

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Case For Ezekiel Elliott

Yes, Zeke has not been playing as well as he has in the past. That’s not to say he isn’t the same player. Take a step back for a second.

The main reason he didn’t play great last season is that quarterback Dak was throwing the ball a ton. It happened again this season before Prescott got injured.

Speaking of injuries, the Cowboys have their practice team protecting their quarterback and opening lanes for Zeke. What else do you expect when there is a defender always in your face?

To put it into perspective, they lost their starting center and both starting offensive tackles for the season, two depth linemen before the season, their backup center for a couple of games, and a backup offensive tackle for a couple of games. The Miami Dolphins have a better line right now.

Elliott is averaging 1.9 yards before contact. That’s tied for the 12th worst in the league. As soon as he touches the ball, a lineman is waiting there to blow him up.

Losing Dak made things worse. Teams are a lot more comfortable stacking the box and forcing a backup quarterback (in Dallas’ case, a third-string quarterback) to throw the ball.

His yards have been dropping as the team shifts from a run-first offense to a pass-first offense. Not to mention head coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t had much success with running the ball. Being down in games also forces them to throw the ball.

To add to that, he is playing better every season as a pass catcher and as a blocker. He is on pace to finish the season with 440 receiving yards on a team with three top-notch receiving talents.

While the lack of big plays is something that may concern fans, he doesn’t need them. Instead, he will never fall back when getting hit. A run for one yard will turn into a run for three or four yards because of his ability to fight for every inch.

Fumbles have been an issue; you can’t debate that. Being drained of your confidence does not help you. At this point in the season, let Zeke play and help him learn to hold onto the ball better. It will help in the long run.