NFL pundits are pushing baseless Ezekiel Elliott-Cowboys narrative after Week 3

Nov 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and New York
Nov 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and New York / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The media's coverage of the Dallas Cowboys was fun to track after the first two games.

Following the team's ugly loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3, though, the floodgates have opened. Granted, the Cowboys allowed them to open and there's really nothing fans can say to defend that performance.

Unless, say, the media takes a narrative and blows it out of proportion. With the Cowboys red zone offense ranking among the worst in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott's name popped up on the Twitter (or X) timeline on multiple occasions during the loss.

Now that folks have had a runway to dissect Dallas' red zone woes, pundits and reporters are advocating that Dallas misses Elliott. ESPN's Robert Griffin III banged this drum on 'Get Up' Tuesday morning and had many supporters.

The Cowboys don't miss Ezekiel Elliott despite red zone struggles.

When Griffin received some pushback, he countered with this tweet.

Griffin's argument is admirable, but it doesn't add up. Most of Elliott's red zone touchdowns came within the five-yard line. The Cowboys' problem has been getting that close. Some of their biggest hiccups in the red zone have come on 3rd and goal from 8 yards and beyond.

It stands to reason that Zeke would help on drives that stall out inside the 5, but this is more an execution and play-calling problem than not having Elliott's goal line prowess.

Tony Pollard averaged over 5.0 yards per carry against Arizona and backup Rico Dowdle had no problem breaking tackles en route to posting 46 scrimmage yards (and a touchdown) on just seven touches.

The ground game would be less efficient if Elliott was still here, and Dallas hasn't had any issue converting via the run on 3rd-and-short. That was Elliott's calling card throughout his Cowboys tenure and the team hasn't skipped a beat.

Per Bobby Belt of 105.3 The Fan, the Cowboys' conversion rate on 3rd/4th and short -- anything between 1-3 yards -- is higher across the board this year.

Nobody's saying Elliott wouldn't have value on the offense. He'd be useful amid the offensive line turnover and his sheer presence and reputation as a goal line back would help cure the red zone struggles, but Kellen Moore calling plays would have a bigger impact in that regard than swapping Pollard or Dowdle for Zeke.

At the end of the day, the stats RGIII presented in his argument just fit the narrative. They don't correlate in any way to the Cowboys' current red zone blues.

More Cowboys news and analysis: