The idea that Ezekiel Elliott can do big things in Dallas is one many fans have. There have been a few records out there that some optimistic fans (like myself) think have a chance at falling, specifically - the rookie rushing record. What does the holder of those records think? Eric Dickerson provides some good insight on why it might be a lot harder than people think.
Does he think it will be broken?
Dickerson: I think eventually it will be broken. I think somebody will break it one day. The one I always said is going to be the hardest one to break is my rookie rushing record, because you get one shot at it. 1,880 yards, I think I had 20 touchdowns. I think that's just going to be difficult to break, because a rookie that can get those chances you can get to run the football, it just happened to work out for me that year. I had a great season, but I always say this, as my rookie season went on around Week 11 or 12, I got tired. I wasn't used to the 20 game season, with preseason counting in there with those four extra games. I just started dropping weight.
There have been 20 instances where a running back has eclipsed Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing total, but none did so their first season. Here are some of the biggest seasons from rookie running backs, including the man whose held down the top spot for the last 32 years.
Dickerson burst onto the NFL scene as a rookie in a big way in 1983. He not only posted what may have been the best season by a rookie – regardless of position – in NFL history, but it was also one of the best seasons by any running back in NFL history. The 1999 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee led the league in rushing yards with just over 1,800, and ran for career-high 18 touchdowns in his first NFL season. For his efforts, he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
Elliott may have every much the talent to have a huge year statistically, but one of his obstacles may be out of his control - opportunity. To put up monster numbers like Dickerson did in 1983, the coaching staff will need to be very generous with his touches. Is that likely to happen? As Jess Haynie points out, the coaches obliged in 2014.
The best rookie RB season in history came in 1983 with Erick Dickerson. He ran for 1808 yards and 18 touchdowns in 16 games. He also chipped in 51 catches for 404 receiving yards and two more scores. Monster season by any level, but incredible for a rookie. The next best season by a rookie didn’t come all that close.
What’s more, this was over 30 years ago! Running backs were a much bigger part of the game then, evident by the 390 carries that Dickerson had during that season. It is far more rare to see a modern back get that many touches, although that’s exactly what had with DeMarco Murray in 2014 (392 carries, 57 catches).
If there were any thoughts about Elliott having some of his opportunities taken by the teams leading rusher from last year, that idea might have been derailed for a bit.
Darren McFadden will miss a couple months following surgery after breaking his elbow in a cell-phone falling incident, which is something rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is privately enjoying since he’ll likely get more first-team reps from here on out. Was there really every any doubt that E-Z-E would not be the Dallas Cowboys starter once the season got underway?
Some fans are a little reluctant to buy into the hype on a running back that hasn’t played a single down. Fair enough. But if practice is any indication, there are reasons to be kinda excited. Just ask Byron Jones.
Sure, it’s still just practice. Let’s not get excited until week one when Elliott breaks off a 74-yard run after juking New York Giants safety, Landon Collins. Because it will happen. And when it does - the remaining doubters will be all aboard the Zeke Train.
And so it begins...
The hype beast surrounding Cowboys’ rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott is a leviathan. It will be difficult for him to match production to expectation in 2016; as some attempt to fit him for a gold jacket before a single regular season snap. Occasionally, the public gets a glimpse of what the fuss is all about.
We’ve heard about all the things Elliott does well, but now we get to actually see it.
As Elliott takes the handoff, the blocking lanes developing quickly is half the battle. The other half is how rapidly he bursts into the lane. There is no hesitation or wasted motion. Elliott finishes it off by throwing high beams in the eyes of defensive back Byron Jones, who is left grasping air.
Speaking of Byron Jones, how is he looking thus far in camp? Bryan Broaddus gives us the scoop on what he has seen going up against one of the toughest covers in the game.
Bryon Jones vs. Jason Witten in practice:
Broaddus: I see Byron Jones not allowing Jason Witten to bully him. Jason Witten can be very intimidating when you play against him, especially for a young guy. We saw a little bit of this last year when we were in Oxnard and it gave you hope that Byron Jones could potentially be a big-time safety one day. I thought it was interesting how they are continually using Witten a little bit wider, more outside the slot.
Yesterday was Fathers’s Day and coach Garrett talks about the most inspirational man in his live, on and off the field. Jason doesn’t show emotion very often, but it was on clear display when he was asked about his father.
"That’s a hard question for me to answer right now," the Cowboys coach said before a long pause. "It’s very meaningful. It’s very meaningful to all of us. Football has been a big part of our lives, and certainly part of my life growing up and my brothers’ lives growing up. And my dad, probably more than anything else, instilled a passion for football in all of us and all the people that he came in contact with. So, it’s a special day."
Love him or hate him, he coaches our favorite team. Michael Sisemore gives you the chance to chime in and share the things you like or don’t like about coach Garrett.
The fact that this team buys into his message and he's never lost the team is something you have to admire. Being a coach's son and playing a lengthy career in the NFL has earned him trust where some coaches would find difficulty. You can see every bit of the intensity that his father Jim Garrett had running through the veins of Jason. His practices are always very intense and all of his influences can be seen in his coaching.
Everyone has their own motivating factors to make it to the Pro Bowl, but for Jason Witten, he’s got a couple more.
During an interview near the end of last season, Witten's wife, Michelle, said around the ages of 4 or 5 their boys started asking, "Why is everybody wearing daddy's jersey?"
"Now that they've gotten a little bit older, they enjoy those Pro Bowl trips to Hawaii," Michelle said. "They then started asking, 'Dad, are you going to make the Pro Bowl this year?'
"It was precious because in a kid's perspective, they're thinking about a trip to the beach and Hawaii. It's just pretty awesome to sit and watch them be able to do all these awesome things."