Ezekiel Elliott came into the NFL as one of the most-hyped players of this draft. He was the consensus pre-season pick as Offensive Rookie of the Year. Fantasy players expected him to light it up. At pick #4, he was the highest running back taken since Trent Richardson in 2012 was taken third, and the only first-round running back in 2016. He was the highest first round runner taken by the Cowboys since Tony Dorsett, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Zeke stoked this hype by telling the Dallas Morning News in August that his job would be "easy" even though he'd been out of much of training camp and the first two pre-season games with a tight hamstring.
"I think I probably have one of the easiest jobs in America," he said. "I get to run behind the best O-line in America, run through those huge holes, they make your job easy."
He also told Eric Dickerson, through his agent, that he was going to get Dickerson's rookie rushing mark of 1,808 yards, which has stood since 1983. "Good luck" was Dickerson's response. "Many have said that, all have failed."
Last Sunday, Zeke had his first chance to back up his bravado. The result? 20 carries for 51 yards, 2.5 yards per carry. Projected over 16 games, that would yield only 815 yards. In fairness, Eric Dickerson only averaged 2.94 yards per carry in his first game, over 31 carries. The Dallas Cowboys line didn't exactly open "huge holes" for Zeke, but he also lacked some patience in finding the holes that could have been there.
This week, Zeke will be given another chance to demonstrate his importance to the Dallas offense, against a Washington defense that got steamrolled by Pittsburgh’s 33-year old back DeAngelo Williams, who went off with 26 carries for 143 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
So, while it may be tempting for Zeke to proclaim in advance that he will have even greater success against Washington, my advice to Zeke would be to let your running do the talking.