Dallas Cowboys disappointment No. 3
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
For me, Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t been a disappointment at all this year. I entered the season seeing him as a replaceable part and almost completely dependent on the offensive line in front of him. All he’s done is prove to be just that.
The highest paid running back in the league is having his worst season as a pro, and in many ways, is getting outplayed by teammate Tony Pollard. Only now are teams gearing up to stop him by loading the box, but that says more about the Dallas Cowboys passing game than it does about “fearing Zeke”.
The honest truth is, Zeke’s been on the decline for quite a while and is far more reputation than actual substance these days. Teams stopped loading up the box to stop him last season, when 25 other RBs saw more 8+ man boxes than ol’ Zeke. This year he’s 35th in PFF’s elusive rating – something he can’t pin on the O-line or poor passing game.
What came as a disappointing surprise this season is his fumble rate, and overall play on passing downs. Zeke has fumbled the ball more than ever before and by the numbers, has hurt the team far more than he’s helped the team (he has a negative EPA on the season).
On passing downs he’s been disappointing in both areas. He’s doing poorly in pass protection and he’s dropping too many costly passes. In the chart above, his drops rank as the most costly — not just on the Dallas team, but among the most costly in the entire NFL.
Zeke’s best asset is his ability to have no weaknesses. He was never the best at any one item, but his ability to do everything well made him a valuable commodity. That just isn’t true anymore and that’s why he makes the list today.