Ezekiel Elliott may have to say “feed me” a little louder in Week 2 to get the attention of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. Elliott had just 11 carries for 33 yards in the Cowboys two-point loss to the Buccaneers in the season opener.
After an offseason of praise from Cowboys coaches, the star running back was far from the focal point of the offense as the team threw the ball a whopping 58 times against Tampa. After the game, Elliott seemed to take his limited usage in stride admitting it was part of the team’s gameplan to attack the Bucs defense primarily through the air.
“Yeah [limited rushes was part of the gameplan],” Elliott noted after the game. “The game goes however it goes, you know what I mean. I’m just out there to play, out there to do my best every play. So, I don’t know [about future usage].”
Critics Crushed the Cowboys for Zeke’s Lack of Carries vs. Bucs
The Cowboys received their fair share of criticism for not leaning on Elliott more in Week 1. As DallasCowboys.com’s David Helman pointed out, the team would have also been criticized if they forced carries to Elliott which resulted in minimal gains against a stout Buccaneers defensive line.
“*Adjusts nerd glasses* actually, adjusting Zeke’s usage based on the looks they’re seeing, rather than stubbornly calling his number because of the value of his contract, is a very good thing and something the coaching staff should be commended for,” Helman tweeted.
Overall, Elliott expressed optimism on the Cowboys’ performance without complaining about having to play a complementary role. The Cowboys running back promised the team is “going to get better.”
“It was great to get back out there,” Elliott explained. “I think we did a great job of going out there competing. Defense did a great job going out there taking the ball away. Offense did a great job going out there scoring. Just fell short, but I like where we’re at now. We’re going to get better.”
Dak on Cowboys Offense: ‘You Want to be Balanced… But the Pass Was Working for Us’
Prescott backed the team’s gameplan, emphasizing that the Cowboys ultimately want to have a balanced offensive attack this season. The Cowboys quarterback defended the lack of rushing attempts noting, “the pass was working for us.”
“Obviously you want to run the ball more, you want to be balanced,” Prescott said, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “But the pass was working for us, so that’s just the way that the game played out. We’ve got the talent on offense to be able to do that. We’re going to come in each game with a plan to be balanced and if we have to get heavy one way or another, I’m sure we will. I’m sure there will be games where we run the ball a lot more than we did tonight or we planned to.”
The Buccaneers have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, and it will be interesting to see how the Cowboys adjust their offensive attack for Week 2. The Chargers defense ranked No. 18 last season allowing 119.8 rushing yards per game.