Ezekiel Elliott’s ‘gotta be our characteristic’

Whereas Cowboys followers clamor for Tony Pollard to play a extra distinguished position within the offense, Dallas proprietor Jerry Jones continues to underscore the significance of Ezekiel Elliott.

Becoming a member of NFL Community’s protection of Coaching Camp: Again Collectively Saturday, Jones stated the workforce needs to get Pollard on the sphere, however not on the expense of Zeke’s carries.

“We gotta have Tony Pollard on the market. No, significantly, Zeke’s gotta be our characteristic, and he’s our characteristic,” Jones stated. “We are able to characteristic him in quite a lot of alternative ways. All of us acknowledge what he does within the passing recreation due to his safety capability. Do not ever underestimate that particularly with Zeke. Zeke takes some tolls when he is on the market as a again blocking. So it’s important that we make Zeke — as a result of he is able to being that — actually the main target of what we’re doing. Now then, Pollard, there’s loads of room for Pollard. There’s loads of room for Pollard when Zeke’s in there. Pollard must get the ball.”

Elliott’s significance in cross safety is one thing that the Cowboys have highlighted as a purpose he is important to the offense, whilst his yards per carry have waned.

Elliott generated a career-low 13.9 carries per recreation and 58.9 rush YPG in 2021 whereas averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Zeke notably struggled late within the season whereas coping with a knee harm, incomes simply 3.6 yards per carry from Weeks 8-18 (5.1 YPC Weeks 1-6). He additionally generated 2.7 yards after contact per carry in 2021.

Pollard, in the meantime, displayed explosive capability in minimal reps. Pollard set career-highs in carries (130), rush yards (719) and scrimmage yards (1,056) in 2021 (first profession season with 1,000+ scrimmage yards). His 3.6 yards after contact per carry have been fifth most within the NFL final yr.

With the Cowboys coping with questions at receiver — Michael Gallup has already stated he will not be able to return for Week 1 as he comes again from a torn ACL — Pollard might see elevated reps out large.

Jones’ insistence that Elliott stays the lead again ought to sign that we’ll see extra two-back units from the Cowboys this season. In 2021, Dallas used two RB units on simply 57 of 1,153 snaps, per Subsequent Gen Stats. The Cowboys should discover a approach to get Pollard on the sphere, even when it isn’t reducing considerably into Zeke’s reps.