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#pounditThursday, February 25, 2021

Articles tagged: Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott responds to his critics

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott had a response on Wednesday for those criticizing his play this season.

Zeke only has one 100-yard game this season and has only scored one touchdown since Week 5. The two-time rushing champion has 832 yards and five touchdowns this season on a career-low 3.9 yards per carry. He has added 45 catches for 285 yards and two touchdowns.

Elliott missed Week 15 due to a calf injury, which gave Tony Pollard a huge opportunity.

Pollard seized the spotlight and had 12 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns in the Dallas Cowboys’ 41-33 win over the 49ers. He added six catches for 63 yards as well.

Elliott basically said he wasn’t concerned with anyone saying Pollard might be a better option.

Elliott is right as far as who he answers to. But when you look at how much money Zeke is making and how bad the Cowboys are, it’s easy to point the finger at him. Dallas is hoping this is just a down season due to Dak Prescott’s injury and the lack of success from the offense.

Elliott has said he is on track to play in Week 16.

ESPN analyst and ex-Cowboy rips team for paying Ezekiel Elliott, not Dak Prescott

Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys have desperately needed Ezekiel Elliott to step up this season with Dak Prescott out, and the star running back has not answered the call. Marcus Spears feels that is further proof that the team made a mistake by giving Elliott a massive contract and letting Prescott play under the franchise tag.

Spears, who played for the Cowboys for almost his entire career before going on to work at ESPN, said on Tuesday’s edition of “Get Up!” that it infuriates him that Jerry Jones paid Elliott and still has not hammered out a long-term deal with Prescott.

“It further p—es me off. We’re talking about Zeke Elliott getting his money after going to Cabo and Dak Prescott still doesn’t have his check. It is crazy to me that that is transpiring,” Spears said.

Spears was referring to how Elliott held out prior to the 2019 season and trained on his own in Mexico. The Cowboys eventually gave him a six-year, $90 million deal.

Elliott has only one game this season in which he has rushed for more than 100 yards. He’s still on pace for more than 1,000 yards, but he’s averaging a career-worst 3.9 yards per carry. Spears said a running back earning an average of $15 million per season should be able to overcome the obstacles Dallas has faced.

“Zeke was supposed to be the shining armor with everything that transpired. He was supposed to overcome the offensive line (problems),” Spears said. “I know it’s a tough situation for Zeke Elliott, but he was supposed to be the mainstay and the catalyst around the turmoil that’s going on in that franchise right now. He’s not living up to it.”

You can hear Spears’ full remarks below:

Spears played for the Cowboys for eight seasons, and this is far from the first time he has blasted them on the air. He also went off on a Dallas player over some boneheaded remarks earlier this season.

Elliott is still one of the best running backs in the NFL, but his down season is a reminder that even the elite players struggle when their teams are unbalanced.

Ezekiel Elliott not giving up on season yet

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is not yet giving up on the season even with his Dallas Cowboys now 3-9.

The Cowboys lost 34-17 to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday and have dropped two games behind the leaders in the NFC East. Elliott rushed for 77 yards and had 18 yards receiving in the defeat. He’s not ready to pack it in on the season despite the team’s struggles.

Dallas has games at Cincinnati, vs the 49ers, vs. the Eagles and at the Giants to end the season. In the terrible NFC East, anything can happen, but we don’t exactly like Dallas’ chances, certainly not with that defense. And Troy Aikman does not seem to be too optimistic either.

Washington has won three in a row and still has a few winnable games left. The Giants have won four in a row and are headed in a much better direction than Dallas.

Ezekiel Elliott still optimistic about Cowboys’ chances of winning NFC East

Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys may have slipped to 2-7 this season, but Ezekiel Elliott has not yet lost faith.

Elliott rushed 18 times for 51 yards while playing through a hamstring injury in the team’s 24-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. He was asked after the game about Dallas’ 2-7 record and pointed out how other teams in the NFC East are struggling.

“I think we’ve still got a shot,” Elliott said, via Michael Gehlken.

Yes, the Cowboys still do have a shot. They’re tied with the New York Giants at 2-7. Washington is 2-6. And Philadelphia leads the division with a 3-4-1 record.

Are the Cowboys realistically going anywhere this season? No. We all know that. But at least Garrett Gilbert looked competent on Sunday and was better than Uncle Rico.

Elliott is having his worst season as a pro. He is averaging fewer than four yards per carry and still hasn’t had one 100-yard rushing game all season.

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7

Cam Newton

We’re getting close to the halfway point of the NFL season, which means the playoff races will really be heating up soon. That means the stakes are getting higher, and the pressure is rising as well.

Plenty of NFL stars are succeeding in responding to that pressure. Some, however, aren’t doing quite as well. Here are five players who disappointed in Week 7.

Cam Newton, QB, Patriots

The predictions about Newton having a rebound season and getting back to his MVP form look about as off the mark as some of his passes do these days. Newton went 9/15 for 98 yards and three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to San Francisco. He didn’t have his peak strength or accuracy, and things got bad enough that he was benched once the game became a blowout. Newton’s play is a real concern for New England at this point, and one has to wonder if the Pats are considering a switch with Jarrett Stidham waiting in the wings.

Stephen Gostkowski, K, Titans

The Titans have stuck by Gostkowski so far, even though they’d have been entirely justified in moving on based on his stats. Now he’s cost them a game. He missed a 45-yard field goal at the end of regulation against the Steelers that would have forced overtime. Even Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t believe it. The veteran has now missed six field goals and two extra points, and doesn’t look reliable right now. The Titans are 5-1 and look well-positioned for a playoff run. They will want to get a better kicker first, though.

Jon Bostic, LB, Washington

Bostic produced the worst moment of the day with this hit on Andy Dalton that knocked the Dallas Cowboys quarterback out of the game. It was so bad, in fact, that Washington coach Ron Rivera apologized and publicly chastised Bostic for his lack of control. Rivera is right. Bostic is a veteran who needs to be better than that. It was a low hit that looked like head-hunting, and a suspension would be fully deserved.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott continues to look fairly lost in the Dallas backfield with or without Dak Prescott. He was held to 45 yards on 12 carries Sunday against Washington, keeping a worrying trend going. It’s the second consecutive game Elliott has been held under 50 yards, and the third time in five weeks. He has yet to go for 100 yards this season. Some of that is due to game script, but Elliott is also dealing with fumbling problems, and has at times looked uncertain running out of the backfield. The Cowboys need him more than ever with Prescott and possibly Dalton out, but he’s not giving them much.

Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons

Gurley will be having nightmares about scoring a touchdown, strange as that is to say. While he tried to avoid crossing the plane, Gurley accidentally scored late to put Atlanta ahead 22-16 against Detroit. The problem? Doing so left the Lions over a minute to go downfield and score a game-winning touchdown themselves. We always praise running backs who are mentally sharp enough to take a knee short of the end zone in order to burn more clock in a spot like this. Gurley didn’t do that, and his team ultimately paid the price. Crazily, this was the second time this happened over the weekend.

Ezekiel Elliott addresses Cowboys players anonymously bashing coaches

Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys are trying to hold their locker room together in the wake of a report about anonymous players blasting the coaching staff, and Ezekiel Elliott is among those who are unhappy the quotes leaked out.

The Cowboys were dominated 38-10 at home on Monday night to fall to 2-4. A day after the game, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater shared some anonymous criticism of the Cowboys’ coaches that she received from players (read the report here).

Elliott told reporters on Wednesday that Cowboys players need to “look in the mirror” if they want to fix their problems. He also said he would prefer if grievances remain in house.

Cowboys veteran linebacker Sean Lee shared similar thoughts.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has only been with the team for six games. It’s unclear if the anonymous players were specifically referring to him, but he also addressed the report.

Despite their 2-4 record, the Cowboys remain in first place in the shockingly bad NFC East. They could conceivably reach the playoffs with six or seven wins, so they need to work hard to avoid in-fighting. Anonymously pointing fingers will not solve any of their issues.

Ezekiel Elliott replaced by Tony Pollard after fumble problems continue

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott was replaced by Tony Pollard in the Dallas Cowboys’ backfield after some fumble problems continued for the lead back.

Elliott entered Monday night’s game between his Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas with three fumbles (two lost) on the season. Then he lost fumbles on consecutive possessions in the first half of the embarrassing 38-10 defeat.

Elliott was replaced by Tony Pollard on the team’s possession after his second fumble. The Cowboys ended up punting on the possession. Elliott returned on the possession after that, though Pollard mixed in.

Zeke finished the game with 49 yards on 12 carries. Pollard had 31 yards on 10 carries.

Elliott is still the main back, but the fumbles are a huge problem. Four lost fumbles is too many for an entire season. To lose that many in six games is inexcusable.

Zeke is in his fifth season with the Cowboys and only had five lost fumbles prior to this year. This has become a concerning trend this season.

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 3

Sam Darnold

NFL Week 3 is nearly finished, with another slew of memorable performances to go with it. We even had a tie in the NFL this week, so you know it was memorable. There are also plenty of teams that dropped to 0-3, including one that did so with a brutal collapse, and another that never even came close. It’s hard to say which is worse.

Here are five big disappointments from Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season.

Atlanta Falcons

It’s never good when a franchise becomes so infamous that their collapses aren’t even all that surprising. The Falcons led the Bears 26-10 in the fourth quarter, and then the team gave up 20 unanswered points to drop to 0-3. It’s the second consecutive week the Falcons have blown a big lead in the second half, and at this point, it’s becoming a trend. This team simply cannot close out games. If it goes on much longer, Dan Quinn won’t have a job.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets

The Jets are a mess. Darnold had an awful game against the Colts. He was held to 168 yards and three interceptions. In his defense, he has few weapons and struggles to make the most of them. Still, he opened the game with a pick-six and added a red zone interception. He couldn’t blame his receivers — or lack thereof — for those. There’s no reason to believe it’s going to get any better, either.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Dallas’ gameplan on Sunday was strange, as they appeared content to get in a shootout with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. That wasn’t smart, not just because it put the ball in Wilson’s hands more. Elliott was overlooked as a weapon as Dak Prescott threw the ball 57 times. Elliott scored a touchdown, but was limited to just 34 yards on 14 carries. That’s not really a winning gameplan for the Cowboys, and it made for a letdown day for Elliott.

Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that Murray is still quite young. Sunday provided a reminder of that. Murray was erratic against a subpar Detroit Lions defense, throwing three interceptions and fortunate not to add more. His 270 passing yards aren’t that impressive either when you consider that he threw the ball 35 times. Murray was outplayed by Matthew Stafford. Murray is still working on the consistency that comes with being an elite NFL quarterback.

Darren Waller, TE, Raiders

Expectations had to be high for Waller in Week 3 after erupting for 12 catches and 103 yards a week ago. The Patriots knew to focus on him, too, and their gameplan worked perfectly. With no Henry Ruggs in the lineup, Waller was identified as the Raiders’ main weapon in the passing game, and the Patriots took him away. He was only targeted four times, catching two of them, and didn’t offer much of anything until garbage time. Credit to the Patriots for their gameplan, but Waller had to find a way to get more involved.

Ezekiel Elliott makes bold claim about 2020 Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott

If Ezekiel Elliott is right, the 2020 Dallas Cowboys will be a team to remember.

Elliott made a bold claim about this year’s team on Tuesday, calling them the best he’s ever played on.

“This is probably the most talented team I’ve been on,” Elliott said, via David Helman of the team’s official website. “Just look at the depth chart, look at the roster, look at how many Pro Bowlers, how many All-Pro guys we have out there.”

It’s a bold claim to make, as Elliott has played on a pair of playoff teams, one of which won 13 games. He’s also right about the numbers. The Cowboys have 14 players who have made the Pro Bowl at least once, according to Helman. They also boast eight former All-Pros.

Most of those players are holdovers, however, and were on the team last year. That team went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. That obviously can’t happen again. The hope is that a new coach who is also embracing the high expectations might be able to get the most out of all that talent Elliott is alluding to.

Ezekiel Elliott focused on expanding role in passing game during offseason

Ezekiel Elliott is trying to add a new dimension to his game ahead of the 2020 season.

Elliott said Monday that he spent extra time in the offseason working on his pass-catching ability, and stated that he wants to make himself more involved out of the backfield in the Dallas Cowboys’ passing game.

The Cowboys do use Elliott in the passing game, but he’s essentially in the middle of the road in the grand scheme of running backs. He caught 54 passes for 420 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, with that yardage good for 12th among all NFL running backs. There’s nothing particularly wrong with those numbers, but Elliott clearly wants more.

The 25-year-old may also be motivated by some recent criticism he’s been getting. He ran for 1,357 yards last season, so improving his output in the passing game could push him toward 2,000 all-purpose yards for the second time in his NFL career and silence some doubters at the same time.