Ezekiel Elliott reacts to speculation about decreased workload
Ezekiel Elliot has been the quintessential workhorse running back during his four-year NFL career, but is it possible that a new Mike McCarthy-led Dallas Cowboys coaching staff may lead to decreased touches in 2020?
Whether or not that proves to be the case remains to be seen, but ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder — as plugged in about the Cowboys as anyone in the media — floated such a notion in a tweet on Wednesday.
Where does this expectation leave @EzekielElliott in terms of his role? His production is essential in my mind. But Mike McCarthy— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) August 5, 2020
earned a reputation in GB for putting his full faith in the QB. https://t.co/eLfXIvZGvE
Elliott, however, wasn’t having any of it, as evidenced by his reaction to Werder’s tweet, which included a colorful emjoi.
We all gonna EAT. Don’t try to start that messy . https://t.co/ovu0NpjXqX— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) August 5, 2020
Elliott appears not to be pushing back against a decreased workload so much as he is taking a team-first approach to potential team success on the offensive side of the ball.
In other words, Elliott is stating that every Cowboys skill position player — which includes rookie CeeDee Lamb being added to a lethal wide receiving corps headed up by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup — will “eat.” And by doing so, the Cowboys offense becomes that much more dangerous.
All that being said, should Elliott see a drop in touches — precipitous or otherwise — it will make for a stark departure from how he was utilized during the Jason Garrett regime.
In the 2018 season, Elliott led the NFL in carries by an absurdly wide margin. The next closest running back to his 304 carries was the Giants’ Saquon Barkley, who had 261 rushes.
Last season, Elliott was the second-most featured back, but his 301 carries was just short of the league-leading 303 rushing attempts by Titans workhorse back Derrick Henry.
Elliott obviously enters the 2020 season with a lot of mileage on his frame, so the case can be made that limiting his workload could pay huge dividends when it comes to how he well holds up late in the season and perhaps into the playoffs.