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Ezekiel Elliott was better in 2018 with Xavier Su’a-Filo at left guard over Connor Williams

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Perhaps a change at left guard is just what Ezekiel Elliott needs.

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s possible that some day soon people look back at the 2018 NFL Draft and wish that the Cowboys had in fact traded their second-round pick away to acquire Earl Thomas from (at the time) the Seattle Seahawks.

They didn’t though and ultimately chose to select a guard that had fallen to them, a player they were huge fans of and ultimately couldn’t turn down. As you know, the Cowboys drafted guard Connor Williams out of the University of Texas (I’m an Aggie so this took a lot for me to type). To be frank, he hasn’t exactly lived up to his second-round price tag.

What’s more is that beyond Williams’ on-field play he has had to miss time in both of his two seasons due to injury. It was announced this week that he would be having arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss time, how much time remains uncertain.

The Cowboys kept a bit a contingency plan in place at guard, one that worked out quite well for them last season. Xavier Su’a-Filo has certainly had ups-and-downs playing left guard for the Cowboys, but there were times he played well in 2018.

Xavier Su’a-Filo might be better for the run game

We’re in the middle of a week where the run game isn’t exactly something that Cowboys fans are wanting to see be the focal point, but we all know that if Ezekiel Elliott gets going then things typically go very well for Dallas. I was curious to see how Zeke did in summary with Williams and Su’a-Filo over last season so I tallied things up. Opponents that are capitalized are games that Xavier Su’a-Filo was in at left guard.

Ezekiel Elliott in 2018

Week Opponent Attempts Yards Rushing TDs
Week Opponent Attempts Yards Rushing TDs
1 At Carolina 15 69 1
2 New York 17 78 1
3 At Seattle 16 127 0
4 Detroit 25 152 0
5 At Houston 20 54 0
6 Jacksonville 24 106 1
7 At Washington 15 33 0
9 Tennessee 17 61 0
10 At PHILADELPHIA 19 151 1
11 At ATLANTA 23 122 1
12 WASHINGTON 26 121 1
13 NEW ORLEANS 23 75 0
14 PHILADELPHIA 28 113 0
15 At INDIANAPOLIS 18 87 0
16 TAMPA BAY 18 85 0
With Connor Williams at LG (eight games): 149 carries, 680 yards, 4.56 YPC, 3 touchdowns
With Xavier Su’a-Filo at LG (seven games): 155 carries, 754 yards, 4.86 YPC, 3 touchdowns

To be totally clear here, XSF individually isn’t something that can make that galactic of a difference. Or can he?

Connor Williams has struggled throughout his career and while XSF isn’t one of the best guards in the league by any stretch of the imagination, the overall unit seems to work better when he’s in there over Williams. Keep in mind that all of this happened in a season with Joe Looney to both players’ right side as opposed to Travis Frederick.

It’s interesting to look at how Zeke had more yards (on six more carries) and a higher YPC in one less game with XSF at left guard over Williams. Elliott has had fine performances in two of his last three games to this point on the season, but Williams has been highlighted due to getting beat pretty badly down near the goal line at the end of the Minnesota game.

This isn’t to say that anyone here should be or is celebrating Connor Williams being out for the time being with injury. Looking strictly at performance it’s hard to deny that XSF playing the position could be better for the team in the short-term which is where we are now. Perhaps somewhat coincidentally the five-game winning streak that the Cowboys rode last season began during XSF’s first start.

Poll

Who do you have more confidence in at left guard?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Connor Williams
    (178 votes)
  • 78%
    Xavier Su’a-Filo
    (665 votes)
843 votes total Vote Now