Sportress of Blogitude

Jerry Jones expects lack of drama to help Ezekiel Elliott excel next season

Ezekiel Elliott was inundated with distraction and controversy heading into the 2017 NFL season. With all the drama now in the rear view mirror, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects big things out of the third-year running back.

Much of the off-the-field distractions for Elliott last season stemmed from the NFL’s lengthy investigation into allegations of domestic violence, which turned into a protracted legal process that ultimately led to Elliott serving a six-game suspension late in the season.

The drama over Elliott’s suspension spawned a battle between Jones and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, an ugly situation that now appears to be in the past.

All that said, Jones believes a distraction-free offseason — so far — can only lead to the belief Elliott will look more like the running back who took the league by storm in his rookie season as opposed to an uneven 2017 campaign.

“I’m 100 percent sure, to not have that on your mind, to not have the ambiguity of not knowing timelines, those kinds of things, there’s no doubt in my mind it will make a significant difference in how he can focus,” Jones said Wednesday while attending the Cowboys’ annual golf tournament for sponsors, via SportsDay. “How he can focus not only on the next practice, but the next game and the entire season. So yes, I think that I give him a big arrow [up] as to what his performance might be without the overhang of the issue he faced last year.”

Jones predicted in January that Elliott would avoid scandal and controversy that has at times plagued him in his early NFL career in the aftermath of the suspension, and so far the running back has done just that. The Cowboys need a return to form from Elliott if the team hopes to make a disappointing 9-7 campaign last season an anomaly and not an indicator of things to come.