Now that Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and their combined 14 Pro Bowl selections are out of the picture, the Cowboys need Ezekiel Elliott to shoulder even more of the offensive load this season.
After flirting with the NFL rookie rushing record in 2016, Elliott saw a decrease in efficiency across the board in a 2017 season that was marred by a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Owner Jerry Jones is “100 percent sure” that Elliott will benefit both physically and mentally from a renewed focus now that the suspension is in the rear-view mirror.
“I think that I give him a big arrow [up],” Jones said Wednesday, via ESPN.com, “as to what his performance might be without the overhang of the issue he faced last year.”
It’s hard to quantify just how much the suspension-related stress factored into Elliott’s play last season.
What we do know is that he’s averaged 130 yards per game as one of the league’s most well-rounded offensive stars in his first two NFL seasons. Jones has every reason to believe Elliott will re-emerge as an MVP candidate if the Cowboys return to the playoffs in 2018.
By Chris Wesseling
Around the NFL Writer