Okay yeah, he was kind of the main reason why I thought about writing this so you’re just going to have to deal with this. Elliott was off to a hot start this season, but over the last six games, he’s only run the ball for 244 yards. (He had 521 yards in the first six games this season)
Or you could view the splits as such:
Injuries are always annoying for running backs because they command so many touches and play a position that commands a lot of contact, but that is the nature of playing a contact sport. Elliott’s knee is definitely hampering some of his lateral agility that made him incredibly elusive to start the season.
But the injuries themselves are not causing Elliott to drop in production; Tony Pollard hasn’t been particularly efficient either. On Thursday against the Saints, Pollard averaged 10 yards per carry due to a 58 yard touchdown. However, without that monster gain he was only averaging 2 yards per carry. Elliott’s largest gain on the night was 10 yards; without it he averages just under 3 yards per carry.
It’s quite ironic that the Cowboys call for a pin-pull sweep and that ended up being a 58 yard house call, isn’t it? Last week, when I tried describing the team’s offensive struggles I called for the team to use more Power runs. By having offensive linemen pull, it allows the team’s interior offensive linemen to block on the move and it forces defenders towards the outside of the box.
Kellen Moore’s offense is predicated on exploiting matchups with different formations. Right now, he’s having the offense line up and forgetting to take into account the matchups in front of him. The Cowboys rushing offense is stagnant because teams can expect Dallas to run up the middle so they stack the middle of the box, so much so as to account for both A gaps with defensive linemen.
Giving Ezekiel Elliott his usually snap count percentage isn’t a or the problem, it’s a symptom. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott still need each other because they provide different skill sets for the team. When the team shows it’s willing to incorporate more outside runs, it will hopefully open up the offense and keep them in fewer bad down-and-distance situations.