Jerry Jones: Cowboys have no plan to curtail Ezekiel Elliott’s carries
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated the team has no plans to curtail Ezekiel Elliott’s carries, despite the fact the running back currently is on a pace to break a franchise record for rookie rushes.
“The more we give Ezekiel the ball, then I think the better,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “We’re winning with that. We’re wearing them down on defense.”
Jones obviously is correct that the current blueprint regarding Elliott’s carries has paid serious dividends in the wins department. After all, disregarding Dak Prescott’s stellar play at quarterback, the case can be made the Cowboys would not be 10-1 without Elliott’s contributions in the running game.
As it stands, with 243 carries for 1,199 carries through 11 games, Elliott is on pace for 354 carries and 1,744 yards, setting the aforementioned franchise record for rushes by a rookie.
The Cowboys have a history of showing little regard over the possibility of running their backs into the ground. It merits noting that even if Elliott does reach 354 carries, DeMarco Murray’s 392 carries in 2014 still dwarfs the pace Eliott is setting. As noted by ESPN’s Todd Archer, Emmitt Smith boasted the following seasons that surpassed what Elliott may achieve: 377 (1995), 373 (1992), 368 (1994) and 365 carries (1991).
Jones mentioned the NFL’s all-time leading rusher when discussing Elliott’s projected workload.
“I look back at Emmitt Smith. Everybody expressed, including ourselves, concern because Emmitt was carrying such a load,” Jones said. “And of course I think he carried the ball more than I think anyone has in their career in the NFL. But Emmitt was solid. He was certainly productive.”
In the end, as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if the Cowboys hope to make some noise in the postseason, they’ll need Elliott at his best, which may be helped by not wearing him out over the remaining five games.
Elliott has professed no concern over hitting the so-called “rookie wall,” but history tells us it does in fact exist for some players. And the Cowboys would be wise to be mindful of that potential eventuality, even if Elliott is afforded the luxury of running behind the best offensive line in the NFL.