Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy Makes Big Promise to Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Ezekiel Elliott

Just because the Dallas Cowboys will revolve their offense around Dak Prescott doesn’t mean Ezekiel Elliott will be left wanting.

Quite the contrary.

Speaking during his introductory press conference, new Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy — a notoriously pass-happy play-caller — vowed that Elliott is “going to get the football” in this system.

“Let’s make no mistake about that,” McCarthy said, per Pro Football Talk. “I think you have to clearly understand when you saw the offense is going to make a quarterback successful, the best play to make him successful is a great run game. We clearly understand what we have here and how we could build off of that.”

McCarthy never was gifted a back of Elliott’s caliber amid his 13 years with the Packers. Nowhere close. The most productive was, of all people, Ryan Grant, who totaled 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns on 282 carries in 2009.

Compare this to Zeke, who’s eclipsed 1,300 rushing yards in three of his four NFL seasons, save for a suspension-shortened 983-yard 2017 campaign in which he missed six games. The two-time NFL rushing champion finished 2019 as the league’s fourth-leading rusher with 1,357 yards and 12 scores on 301 totes.

Now that he has a true workhorse at his disposal, McCarthy won’t shy away from making him a focal point, rather than heap the entirety of the offense upon Prescott’s shoulders. Whereas incumbent coordinator Kellen Moore and ex-coach Jason Garrett failed to best incorporate the two superstars, McCarthy (rightly) believes they go hand-in-hand.

A potent aerial attack will open up more running lanes, and vice versa.

This was the thinking even before the ink dried on McCarthy’s five-year Cowboys contract. FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, who first reported McCarthy’s hiring and is plugged into his thinking, predicted Garrett’s successor will “feed [Zeke] like crazy.”

“One of the things he walked in there he was like, he hasn’t really had a guy like Zeke Elliott before,” Glazer said on Jan. 6, via Blogging The Boys. “You know Mike, look when you have Brett Favre, when you have Joe Montana, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers as your quarterbacks, you’re going to kind of go pass happy. But he’s never really had a guy like Zeke so, no. That’s one of the things they discussed also. He loves Dak. He’s excited to work with Dak, but he hasn’t had a Zeke Elliott type guy. No, they’re going to feed him like crazy.”

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McCarthy Lands Two More Former Packers Coaches: Report

Dallas is now the southern Green Bay. ESPN’s Todd Archer reports that McCarthy is reuniting with a pair of former Packers assistants, Scott McCurley and Jeff Blasko, as he assembles his new staff. Both men worked under McCarthy in Titletown.

McCurley is expected to have a role coaching the Cowboys’ linebackers, effectively replacing Rod Marinelli, a holdover from the Garrett regime who doubled as the team’s in-title-only defensive coordinator and will not be retained by McCarthy.

Like McCurley, Blasko cut his teeth as a coaching administrator, in 2016, before moving up the ranks. He was the assistant OL coach for the Packers in 2017 and 2018 then defected to the Cleveland Browns, where he held the same title.

Blasko should assist new OL coach Joe Philbin — former Packers offensive coordinator under McCarthy — in instructing the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl-studded front-five after the club chose not to retain Marc Colombo.

READ NEXT: Cowboys Name Jason Garrett Holdover as New QB Coach: Report

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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