Ezekiel Elliott is making it clear he needs more carries as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. Elliott campaigned for a strong emphasis on the rushing attack as the team attempts to get their first win of the season.
“I don’t know if there is a [specific] number of carries [needed], but I think we definitely have to commit to running it,” Elliott explained during a September 14, 2022 press conference.
Elliott was asked in a follow-up question if his 10 carries in the season opener was enough to which the star rusher responded with a quick “no.” Despite Elliott’s effectiveness with his carries, the Cowboys opted not to rely heavily on the running back against the Buccaneers. Elliott had 10 rushes for 52 yards, averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.
Zeke: ‘I Think It’s Important, Period, to Establish the Run Game’
The Cowboys will need to get creative with Dak Prescott sidelined for at least the next month. Elliott admitted the team would be wise to lean on its run game to help ease the burden placed on backup quarterback Cooper Rush.
“I think it’s important, period, to establish the run game and run the football and get that going,” Elliott noted. “I think just overall as an offense we’re a better football team when we run the ball, and so I think we ran the ball efficiently last Sunday. I’m looking forward to committing to it this week.”
Moore Cited ‘Game Situations’ for Low Rushing Attempts vs. Bucs
Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore praised the rushing attack against Tampa Bay and hinted that “game situations” prevented Dallas from utilizing Elliott and Pollard more. The two running backs shared the field more together, but it came with mixed results.
“Really like the run game, thought Zeke ran really hard, Tony as well,” Moore told reporters on September 12. “I thought we came off the ball really, really well. We had I think 11 five-plus yard runs, which [is good] against that defense who historically stops the run really well. I thought we had some really, really good stuff there.
“We just gotta keep the game situations in the right place, so we can give those guys more opportunities. Obviously, if they put an extra guy in the box or draw a little bit more attention, we understand that aspect and we’ll have to adjust. But feel really good with hopefully where that thing is progressing.”
Dallas Plans to Lean on Cooper Rush as the Team’s Temporary QB1
Despite plenty of chatter that the Cowboys could make a move to add a veteran quarterback, all signs point to Cooper Rush leading the offense while Prescott is sidelined. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Cowboys will not “pursue [a] significant trade” given the team’s optimism about Prescott’s recovery.
“As of now, Cowboys do not plan to pursue significant trade for a QB barring unforseen change, per source,” Fowler tweeted on September 13. “Cowboys won’t take any possibility completely off table, but with Dak Prescott’s improved timeline and Cooper Rush’s familiarity with offense, team feels it can be patient.”