Dallas Cowboys: Put Ezekiel Elliott on Injured Reserve

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys front office to focus on next year and that means preserving Ezekiel Elliott.

No matter how you slice it, 2020 is a lost season for the Dallas Cowboys. The 2-6 Dallas Cowboys are playing their worst football of the season right now, they’re on a three-game losing streak and on pace for a top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

It doesn’t matter the Dallas Cowboys play in the most winnable division in football, without their league MVP candidate Dak Prescott under center, there’s no hope of turning this train wreck around. With news that Ezekiel Elliott is now nursing a hamstring that may prevent him from playing Sunday and could linger beyond the bye week, it’s time to reexamine the situation in 2020 and focus on games that matter (i.e. the 2021 season).

Riding Zeke unnecessarily hard this season does nothing to help the Dallas Cowboys win meaningful games. Because if we’re being honest, the next meaningful game the Dallas Cowboys are going to play won’t be until 2021.

With the bye coming up next week and a credible runner waiting in the wings at RB2, giving Zeke the day off seems like the smart course of action. Such a move would give him two full weeks to rest his hammy and give fans a glimpse of what Tony Pollard can do in the lead role.

But with the season effectively lost and all eyes to future, what’s the point in even bringing Elliott back then? Troy Aikman recently stated he thinks the wear and tear are catching up with Zeke, and that’s why his numbers have been in steady decline.

It’s hard to argue with what he said, no matter how painful it is to hear. We broached the subject before the season. Defenders simply don’t fear Zeke like they used to. Last season 25 running backs faced 8+ defenders more often than Zeke, dispelling the narrative that teams scheme to stop Zeke and dare Dak Prescott to beat them. The numbers have shown it’s really the other way around.

With Dak Prescott now out for the season and and a revolving door of single-callers working in relief, teams are focusing on the only credible threat Dallas has – Zeke.

The wear and tear Zeke is set up to needlessly withstand this season is significant. Last week Zeke ran into the box more often than ever before. I don’t have to explain how running head first into a brick wall can take a toll on the long-term health of an athlete.

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We, of course, care about the long-term health of Zeke because the Dallas Cowboys are contractually committed to to him through the 2022 season. Keeping him as effective as possible for the 2021 and 2022 seasons should take priority over the pointless games ahead here in 2020.

Even if the hamstring is fine in two weeks, the prospect of beating him up for no reason is cause enough to play it safe and put him on ice. The number of 8+defender boxes Zeke is going to face isn’t going to get much better. The glory days of 2019 when it happened less than 20% of the time ain’t coming back until Dak comes back. So how about we rest “the 214” until 2021?

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If the goal is to win the Super Bowl as quickly as possible the Dallas Cowboys should focus on putting out the best possible product in 2021. That means not needlessly beating up their lead running back in what amounts to pointless football games in a season long ago lost.

  • Published on 11/07/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/07/2020 at 11:04 AM