Jerry Jones’ Ezekiel Elliott comments show Cowboys still behind the times

Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

We should’ve known chaos would ensue when Stephen A. Smith brought his “First Take” show to The Star on Thursday. The morning after a major injury to Dallas Cowboys LT Tyron Smith, thousands of fans lined up to taunt the famed Cowboys hater and watch him speak to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Unsurprisingly, Jones did what he does best: spin questions, give confusing answers, and try to explain away things going on with the franchise. When asked about how the team is going to replace the All-Pro offensive lineman, the Cowboys GM’s answer was “we’ll make do.” Given the front office only had a few hours to grapple with that information, we can give Jones a pass for that one.

What really frustrated Cowboys fans was that Jones continues to think this team is going to be fueled by Ezekiel Elliott — a former star running back clearly losing his steam.

"“Now, it is still a fact. We go as Zeke goes. I know it’s not on Dak’s shoulders, but we go as Zeke goes. He’s very capable of being everything we want him to be. The wild card is the guy that’s playing beside him. So we put Pollard in some plans… but it all stops and starts with Zeke.”"

Cowboys GM Jerry Jones continues to push Ezekiel Elliott as the star of this offense in a pass-heavy league

It would be excellent if Elliott is actually fully healthy and has a great year this year. Even if that does happen, this ignores so many factors that Jones continues to miss:

  1. Tony Pollard was statistically and physically better than Elliott last year
  2. The NFL has been a passing-focused league for at least 15 years
  3. Teams that focus on running backs and don’t have strong WR/QB duos often fail
  4. The offensive line is an absolute mess right now with the loss of Tyron Smith, so that will have a huge effect on Elliott’s (and the RB room in general) success
  5. Elliott isn’t the player he was in 2016.

It is absolutely wrong to think that NFL teams go as far as their running back goes. This isn’t the 1990s. It’s been proven for many years that the passing game is what helps a team win. It’s also so ridiculous to continue to watch Pollard not get prioritized when he continually outperforms the man making the millions.

There are two things Jones is really saying when he continually tells the press that Elliott has to be a priority on this offense. The first is that he is trying to validate choosing Elliott with the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (something Jalen Ramsey is still mad about). The second is that he so badly wants to prove that the horrible choice to give a running back — a position known for wear and tear in a pass-heavy league — a six-year, $90 million extension heading into his fifth year in the league.

They wanted to keep Elliott around for eight years to play a position that is so physically demanding that even the best of the best can’t last more than six total seasons. That money spent on Elliott has prevented the Cowboys from keeping key players and is part of the reason they were in such cap space distress to start 2022.

There are so many things Jones is ignoring by continuing to push for Elliott to get more time. It’s truly as if he cares more about where his money goes than the success of this team.