While the Pro Bowl running back would not mind teaming with the all-star safety, he offered a tepid endorsement, sensing the Cowboys are better off utilizing their current personnel.
“I like Earl Thomas. I like him a lot. And he’s a vet. You can never have too many vets,” Elliott said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “I would be open to having him, but I like the guys we got also.”
Although reports indicate Dallas isn’t expected to add Thomas, whom the Ravens released on Aug. 23 after punching a teammate at training camp, owner Jerry Jones and vice president Stephen Jones never outright denied interest in the three-time first-team All-Pro.
Jerry did concede, however, that he’s yet to “visit personally” with Thomas while “we’re just weighing where we are on our roster right now.”
The Joneses, head coach Mike McCarthy, and vice president of player personnel Will McClay huddled last week to discuss Thomas’ questionable fit into a diverse locker room. The 31-year-old has a history of on- and off-the-field transgressions — from flipping off his own bench to being held at gunpoint by his wife over his purported infidelity — baggage that McCarthy appears unwilling to assume.
“We’re very confident in where we are [with] the 80-man roster. … I have nothing really to report,” he said on Aug. 24, via the Dallas Morning News.
The front office cannot undercut its coaching staff, especially McCarthy, should Thomas be deemed more trouble than he’s worth. One could argue, anyway, the defense is better off with the safety troika of Xavier Woods, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Darian Thompson, who’s shined throughout camp.
Stephen Jones, having recently knocked that very same group of players, doesn’t subscribe to this argument. Yet.
“We don’t comment on things like that,” Jones said Thursday on 105.3 The Fan when asked again about Thomas. “We found that it probably works better not to say anything until it’s not a point any more or we have him, like Everson Griffen, wearing a Cowboy helmet.”
The Cowboys are never saying never on the ex-Seahawks star, even if Zeke is saying thanks but no thanks.
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Elliott Offers to Take Backfield Demotion
With a multitude of mouths to feed on offense and only so many scraps to go around, the NFL‘s highest-paid RB expressed a willingness to share what’s on his plate — and, in turn, go hungry himself.
“I mean, I’ve been pretty durable through my career. … 300 carries every season … haven’t seemed to be slowing down yet. But if they ever came to me and asked me to split carries, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do whatever they ask me to do to win,” Elliott said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “That’s my number one thing. I love being the bell-cow. I love getting the rock 30 times a game. I do. But whatever this team needs me to do to win that’s what I’m gonna do.”‘
Elliott indeed crossed the 300-carry mark in 2019, taking 301 totes for 1,357 yards (4.5 YPC) and 12 touchdowns en route to his third career Pro Bowl selection. He was an offensive focal point, spearheading the league’s sixth-ranked ground attack. And he rendered electric rookie backup Tony Pollard obsolete.
Pollard was mostly mothballed (562 total yards, three TDs) but made every rep count. He finished the season as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest-graded rookie rusher (82.9), trailing only then-Oakland’s Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Josh Jacobs (87.2).
The arrival of McCarthy and his subsequent boast that Elliott is “going to get the football” in his system spelled little hope for Pollard’s breakout opportunity. But McCarthy’s system is a hybrid, co-produced by coordinator Kellen Moore, a holdover from the Jason Garrett regime, and Moore similarly promised to “get them the ball.”
“We got a running back who is really good and another one behind him (Tony Pollard) who is really good, and we want to get them the ball,” Moore said in January.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL