It should come as no surprise if you have been paying attention. Ezekiel Elliott has fought through injury this season for the Dallas Cowboys, something that has been discussed throughout the year, and still managed to turn in 1,000 yards on the ground. That is certainly impressive.
We have all said things about the contract that the Cowboys gave Zeke and do not need to re-litigate any of it. He has been paid and it is what it is at this point.
Where we have had different thoughts as of late has been how Dallas has utilized Elliott this season. There is no question that Zeke has been one of the top runners in the NFL throughout his career, but this year it has been difficult to argue that he is the top runner (not pass-blocking running back, runner) even on his own team.
Tony Pollard has shined when given the ball and is someone who people would have liked to have seen utilized more often. Unfortunately with the season now over we won’t get that opportunity, but the thing is that it should have already happened.
Pollard should have bee incorporated more than he was off of principle alone, but particular because of what we learned on Sunday night. After the Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers it was revealed by Ezekiel Elliott that he played part of the season with a torn PCL.
Zeke Elliott said he played with a partially torn PCL.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 17, 2022
Why on earth was Ezekiel Elliott not ever sidelined if he was dealing with this injury? Why did the team not use Tony Pollard more?
The Cowboys insisted on giving Elliott 18 carries in Philadelphia last week (in what was effectively a meaningless game, the Eagles certainly treated it that way). Sure he got his 1,000 yards on the season, but could he have not benefited from some rest?
Even if the Cowboys wanted to use Zeke for whatever reason, if he isn’t 100% then why not use a runner in Tony Pollard who is arguably better than even a 100% Elliott? This is insane.
There is no justification to playing an injured Elliott when Tony Pollard was an available option. Again it can be argued that when both players are fully healthy that Pollard is still the more effective runner and he is certainly so against an ailing Elliott.
What’s more is that the Cowboys proved earlier in the season that they were not above resting a running back dealing with an injury when they sidelined Pollard at Washington while he was dealing with a torn plantar fascia. Why would they not take that same approach with Elliott while he was injured so that he could recover or even so that they could have the best possible option in the backfield?
There are a lot of questions that the coaching staff needs to answer.