The Dallas Cowboys didn’t exactly need a ton of Ezekiel Elliott to mop the floor with the New York Giants in Week 1, but the star running back is apparently ready to retake a full workload in Kellen Moore’s suddenly high-flying offense.
The two-time league rushing champion carried the ball just 13 times in Sunday’s victory, and as ESPN’s Todd Archer reported, Elliott told reporters Wednesday his limited Week 1 role was “tolerable” — and that hits take “a little bit more out of you” — after the Pro Bowler missed all of summer training camp while holding out for a new contract. Now, however, with Dallas set to visit the Washington Redskins in Week 2, Elliott is suggesting he’s capable of more.
“I think I’m ready now for a normal workload,” he said Wednesday, per Archer. “Just depends on how (running backs coach Gary Brown) and (offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore) and Coach (Jason) Garrett are feeling on Sunday. But if they ask me, I’ll be able to go out there and do it.”
Elliott, of course, is used to a heavy volume of touches, twice taking more than 300 carries and eclipsing 1,400 rushing yards with the Cowboys. But just because he says he’s ready doesn’t necessarily mean Moore’s game plan will reflect that, at least in the next week or two. As Archer noted, Garrett also spoke to reporters Wednesday, and he maintained that the team will be “mindful” of how little Elliott practiced with the Cowboys in the lead-up to the season. In other words, rookie backup Tony Pollard, who matched Elliott’s Week 1 carry total with 13 hand-offs, is likely to continue to split reps with “Zeke” in the near future.
We’re just days removed, remember, from Elliott himself admitting he was “” in his debut. Now it’s just a matter of whether — or how long — Dallas attempts to knock more of the rust off by granting Elliott’s wish of a bigger role or proceeding with the kind of caution that Garrett has preached.