All eyes are on Ezekiel Elliott when the Dallas Cowboys kick off the season against the defending champs in 2021, but not everybody is buying the Zeke offseason hype. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox labeled Elliott as the most likely Cowboys player to disappoint this season.
“He failed to top the 1,000-yard mark for only the second time in his career—a first for a full campaign—and he averaged a career-low 4.0 yards per carry,” Knox detailed. “…The bad news is that Elliot has endured a lot of wear and tear as a pro. He has carried the ball 1,413 times in five seasons while catching 241 passes. He’s also led the league in rushing attempts twice. The reality is that Elliott’s 2020 performance—with and without Prescott—is likely an accurate indication of where he is in his career. Elliott can still be an above-average running back. However, above-average doesn’t quite justify the $13.7 million cap hit he’s scheduled to carry in 2021.”
Dak on Zeke: ‘He’s in the Best Shape of His Life’
It has been all rave reviews for Elliott throughout the offseason. From the workout videos to comments from his teammates, Elliott clearly has a point to prove when the season begins. During a June press conference, Dak Prescott noted that this is the best shape he has seen Elliott in since he arrived in Dallas.
“Zeke looks great,” Prescott noted, per The Dallas Morning News. “He’s in the best shape of his life. Looking fast. Everybody’s seen the clips of him working out independently with his running back coach. His cuts, just how explosive he is. Excited to have a full year with him again and getting him healthy throughout the whole season.”
Zeke Among Most Overrated NFC East Players, Says Analyst
There is still plenty of skepticism about just how much Elliott will contribute this season. Elliott failed to top 1,000 rushing yards in 2020 notching 244 carries for 979 yards and six touchdowns last season. Blogging the Boys’ RJ Ochoa has Elliott on his list of most overrated players in the NFC East.
“This choice was not made to incite the running backs actually do matter crowd, it was just an acknowledgment of where we are in our current moment,” Ochoa explained. “Zeke is often mentioned among the truly elite running backs in the game right now and the reality is that he simply isn’t there anymore. There is no doubt that paying a running back what the Cowboys did Elliott is not the wisest of investments and that is a reality that they have to live with. Part of the ‘overrated-ness’ is the attention that big-time contracts bring and there is no lack of attention when it comes to Elliott’s game.”
The emergence of Tony Pollard has put even more pressure on Elliott to perform in 2021. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is not among those who is doubting Elliott’s importance.
“I think Zeke looks great, I mean, he’s been here pretty much the whole time,” McCarthy remarked in a June 8th press conference. “He goes to the early-morning quarterback meetings. He’s a pro’s pro, I’ve been impressed with Zeke since day one. He sits in the front row, asks good questions. He knows the offense in and out. He’s definitely one of the leaders, especially the leader of the running back group. Helps the young guys. I mean, he does everything you look for in a veteran. So, I think he’s had an outstanding offseason program.”