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Is Elliott’s performance on Thursday concerning?

After an offseason of practice videos and photos showing a cropped Ezekiel Elliott, the former Pro Bowl backer failed to eclipse the 50 yards on the ground during the Cowboys’ season opener on Thursday.

Elliott finished the game with 33 yards on 11 carries, as well as two receptions for six yards. The lackluster performance has asked a lot what expectations should be placed on its back as he released his 10e consecutive game without 100 rushing yards.

The simple answer is no. Dallas shouldn’t be worried about what they saw from Elliott on Thursday. Not only did he face the NFL’s top defense, the offense excelled without him having to put up with a heavy workload.

There is a misconception that Dallas is still built like the 2014 and 2016 team that dominated the NFL during the regular season and nearly produced a pair of 2,000 yard backs.

However, this is not the case. This is Dak Prescott’s team and he proved on Thursday how much he can be put on his shoulders. Prescott threw the ball 58 times and his only interception came from an abandoned pass from CeeDee Lamb.

The days of Elliott having to touch the ball 30 times are over. It’s not the same coaching staff that drafted him in 2016, nor the same offense that warrants his running backs to be 150-yard runners.

The positives of Elliott’s performance on Thursday were that he couldn’t find room to run, it didn’t impact his efforts to block passes. Also, do you remember when Prescott would end games with 200 passing yards?

He almost passed that in the first half alone. In 2019, seven of the Cowboys’ eight losses came when Elliott rushed for less than 100 yards.

In the 2018 season, five of their six regular-season losses came when Elliott was held within 100 rushing yards. In this season’s NFC divisional round against the LA Rams, where they lost 30-22, Elliott was limited to 47 rushing yards.

While many people will continue to wonder why Dallas paid Elliott to have the same impact as Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, or Alvin Kamara, the simple fact is they don’t need him anymore.

You have two first-round talents in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, as well as Michael Gallup who could arguably be a second receiver for most teams in the league.

Don’t take it for granted that this offense isn’t as predictable as just letting Elliott eat. And it’s even more impressive that Prescott has apparently taken the reins as the workhorse of this offense.

While Elliott didn’t have an impact on the box’s score, his last years of dominance still forced the defensive coordinators to represent him, which continues to open up passing lanes for Dak.

Editor-in-Chief covering the Dallas Cowboys | Legend of Madden | SFA Alum | Fascinated by success

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