It has been a really long time since the Dallas Cowboys did not have a running back that the team could count on consistently. The 2014 team obviously holds a special place in many fans’ hearts, and it is what began this renaissance of rushers that we are currently experiencing. DeMarco Murray was incredible that year and Darren McFadden managed to top 1,000 the season after, hardly anything to scoff at.
There is no question, though, that Ezekiel Elliott has cemented himself among the best running backs in franchise history over the course of the last four years, though. He has made very good become boring and ordinary, that is often the price of being great.
Ultimately individual accolades are great but there is one team prize in football. Ezekiel Elliott seems more than aware of this which is a very good thing.
Ezekiel Elliott wants to win above all else
Zeke appeared Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan and touched on a variety of topics. If you are wondering, his favorite popsicle flavor is blue raspberry and he appreciates a good filet, but what about his thoughts on the ol’ pigskin?
Elliott spoke highly of teammates Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, and Aldon Smith, but he was also asked about how he feels about his own game. He noted that he feels like his résumé speaks for itself at this point, but he also said that at the end of the day he doesn’t prioritize that. Asked if he would ever consider splitting carries in the future he made it clear that his top priority is winning.
“I’ve been pretty durable through my career. I mean, 300 carries every season. Haven’t seemed to be slowing down yet. But if they ever came to me asked me to come split carries, I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do to win. That’s my number one thing. I love being the bell cow. I love getting the rock 30 times a game. I do. But whatever this team needs me to do to win, that’s what I’m going to do. Above anything else.”
The previous Cowboys staff that Elliott worked under certainly felt as if a more traditional running back was the key to success. There is no question that elite players at any position are a good thing, and while the “running backs don’t matter” argument tends to imply a level of literalness, the game has proven time and time again that running back is generally the easiest spot to replace on the team.
Perhaps the Cowboys are going to steer away from feeding Zeke plate after plate under their new regime. Tony Pollard can obviously be effective. Zeke did note that they were capable of doing some things in 20 personnel together, but more than anything the effectiveness of Zeke is even something that can be made more efficient.
We believe that Zeke is part of the focus of the passing game in 2020, or at least legitimately part of the process. He has said before that he worked more on his receiving game this offseason and he elaborated on that during this appearance as well.
“Just, more out at receiver, more in the slot, running actual receiving routes. Not just check downs and stuff out the backfield. So this offseason I just really focused on being out there in the slot and out wide and honestly I didn’t do anything from the backfield. I did everything from out there. So just getting out there and being more comfortable.”
However the Cowboys plan to use Zeke and if they plan to use anyone else, the goal is still obviously to win. It seems as if the Cowboys are well-positioned to do that with multiple options on the table.