As a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, it gives me physical pain talking about the Dallas Cowboys, mainly from gritting my teeth when I have to use their name or the heartbreak they cause me once — sometimes twice — a year. However, my job is to be unbiased when it comes to the NFL and I am a bigger fan of the league as a whole than I am to just my own team.
Ezekiel Elliott has spent the last month in Cabo, Mexico, training on the beaches and enjoying not going through the mini camp and organized team activity (OTA) grinds of the summer, which shouldn’t have any impact on his upcoming season considering he did the same thing two years ago when he was suspended. Elliott is now back in Dallas and is signing a new deal for six years — $90 million with $50 million guaranteed. That puts him over the former Georgia All-American running back and current Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley.
An Ohio State standout, Elliott has been holding out two years before his contract expires and has really put Cowboy owner Jerry Jones in a tough spot. Jones has tried to down play the situation with remarks like “Zeke who?” and praising fourth-round draft pick out of Memphis, Tony Pollard. But we all know Pollard is not Elliott, and he’s not even close.
Elliott had one of the greatest stretches in college football history when he ran for under 100 yards just one time his final season at Ohio State. He and the Buckeyes went on to beat Alabama in the first-ever College Football Playoff, and Elliott racked up 230 yards on 20 carries against Nick Saban’s stellar defense.
The Cowboys need Elliott more than any other team in the league needs its starting running back because he’s simply the best back in the NFL. He has led the league in rushing two of three years he has played and would have led all three years if it weren’t for his suspension the second year.
Dallas also needs Elliott because he isn’t the spoon that stirs the coffee; he is the coffee, the cup and the spoon. Dak Prescott is just not good enough to carry a franchise on his back and it showed when Elliott was suspended and the Cowboys struggled mightily.
Prescott doesn’t have the arm strength to push the ball down the field and is known for his “dink and dunk” approach to playing football. Because of Prescott’s style, Elliott has had to make changes to his game by catching the ball out of the backfield and has become very good at it, collecting 77 catches for more than 500 yards last season along with the most carries in the league.
With Elliott now back in the lineup, the healthiest their offensive line has been in two years and a defense that is better than most people would like to admit, look for the Cowboys to make the wildcard round of the playoffs and try to make some noise. The Cowboys start their season off Sunday against the New York Giants, who arguably have the other best running back in the league in Saquan Barkley. However, the rest of the roster is just bad.
The Cowboys will win, 31-10, and we could be seeing the last of Eli Manning in a Giants uniform.