Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott announced on Monday he had been cleared of his suspension by the NFL following a six-game absence. The Cleveland Browns signed him to their roster in September, but that was voided when the league suspended him without pay for violating its personal conduct policy.
The Dallas Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott, has provided a health update with major playoff implications. Elliott is the NFL’s leading rusher and is averaging 104 yards per game. Read more in detail here: ezekiel elliott stats.
Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys feels optimistic about his team’s performance as well as his own health.
Coming off a weekend in which they not only blew away the Washington Football Team 56-14, but also clinched the NFC East, this is fantastic news for the Cowboys.
A healthy Elliott is a significant reason why this Cowboys squad is now looking like a serious contender.
Ezekiel Elliott gives an upbeat report on how he’s doing.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott #21 goes off the field after beating the Washington Redskins | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Elliott’s health will have a big impact on how “for real” the Cowboys’ offense is in the playoffs. Things are looking up at the moment.
In the victory against Washington, Elliott was plainly in high spirits. He was in great shape and seemed to be a younger, more energetic version of himself. Elliott is known for his physical presence, which is something you can always count on. Whether he’s feeling well or not, that’s one thing he brings to the game.
Elliott’s explosiveness, which has made him remarkable in the past, has been gone for most of this season due to injuries.
He showed glimpses of that explosion and burst against Washington, and he said he’s feeling lot better after the game.
According to the team’s website, Elliott said, “I’m really close to getting back and feeling 100 percent.” “I believe it’s because they’ve done a wonderful job of restricting my repetitions and allowing me to become healthy,” says the athlete.
Elliott’s long-term thinking is paying off for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott #21 sprints with the ball against the Washington Football Team in the third quarter | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
For most of the season, the Cowboys have been playing a load management game with Elliott, and although that patience might be difficult at times, particularly in November when the team lost three of four games, the long-term perspective makes sense now that the playoffs are near.
Elliott is a huge back at 6-foot-228 pounds, and as previously said, aggressiveness is ingrained in his game. On paper, he seems to be more of a “workhorse” back like Derrick Henry, who can be handed the ball 30 times a game; yet, in today’s NFL, that old-school approach of wearing out running backs has shown to be ineffective. Simply ask Henry. He’s been sidelined with a foot ailment since early November, after the Titans relied heavily on him for the first several months of the season.
It’s also more logical to employ Elliott as a supporting role in Dallas’ offense rather than the primary attraction.
Not only is he a better and more dynamic player when he’s fresh, but Dallas’ offense has so many playmakers that just pounding the rock would be detrimental to the game’s flow. With Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup stretching the defense down the field, you don’t force-feed the running back. You soften up a defense with Elliott and his backfield companion, Tony Pollard, and then throw it over the top of their heads to one of your playmakers on the outside as they creep up to the line.
When you add in Elliott as a pass catcher, you’ve got yourself a mess on your hands.
It’s a tried-and-true strategy that works, as the Cowboys demonstrated against the Redskins with 497 total yards of offense. Elliott only carried the ball nine times for 37 yards, but he averaged 4.1 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. He also snagged a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott, demonstrating why he’s one of the league’s best “dual-threat” backs.
Elliott can be a huge weapon for the Cowboys in the playoffs if he stays healthy.
It’s easy to dismiss the importance of a quality running back in the playoffs in a league dominated by quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Physicality typically determines whether or not a game is won or lost in the playoffs. It’s late in the season, and the weather might be chilly depending on the site. After a grueling regular season, teams are already exhausted and battered. In the end, the side that can demonstrate its physical superiority is typically the one that wins.
We all know how good the Cowboys’ defense is, but the offense has battled to find its footing at times this season. Prescott is a top-tier quarterback who has battled with interceptions in the past and this season, as well as injury difficulties.
In the playoffs, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore might choose to air it out and allow Lamb, Cooper, Gallup, and tight end Dalton Schultz do their thing. Is it, though, the best way to go ahead to engage in a shootout with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or even Matthew Stafford?
Although the defense can force turnovers, the Cowboys’ greatest option on offense may be to dominate the game’s speed, pace, and feel.
Now that Elliott is feeling better, it’s easy to see the Cowboys leaning on him to wear out a stout Green Bay defense in the cold and snow during a potential NFC Championship game. If the Cowboys face the Buccaneers in the playoffs, they may feed Elliott while controlling the time and pace. Keeping Brady off the field and on the sideline is one way to avoid his breaking your heart.
Whatever way you look at it, Elliott being close to 100 percent is great news for the Cowboys, and it has huge playoff ramifications for the rest of the NFC.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provides contract information.
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