Mike McCarthy says he hasn’t seen a drop off in Ezekiel Elliott’s abilities as a running back

It has been a minute now since the Dallas Cowboys brought back Ezekiel Elliott, but given the lead-up to it happening it has felt real for much longer than that. Elliott’s history with the team makes it feel even less strange than normal. Zeke has been in the NFL for nine seasons and has spent all of them save for his most recent with America’s Team. Just because he was elsewhere in 2023 did not establish a night and day difference so his return is a rather normal thing.

That being said the ‘How We Got Here’ of Elliott’s return to Dallas is a bit notable given that the Cowboys chose not to participate in the early parts of free agency at the running back position and (whether by design or coincidence) left the 2024 NFL Draft without a new one in tow. It seems that their compass was always pointed in this direction, but that admittedly requires making a bit of an assumption.

However it happened, Elliott is back with the team. When he first returned the implication seemed to be that he would be more of a complementary part of the overall rushing attack, but as the weeks have worn on that verbiage has changed a bit.

Mike McCarthy took to the podium on Saturday and said that Zeke seems physically as good as he was in his past and that he will be a big part of a running back by committee.

McCarthy did not use the word “workload” but instead said that Zeke will “play at the level he’s played” with the team in the past in terms of actual production.

The last time that we saw Zeke featured he received the fewest amount of carries that he ever had in a Cowboys uniform (231 in the 2022 season) and a big reason for that was Tony Pollard was also getting a lot of the reps.

It remains to be seen if Rico Dowdle or Deuce Vaughn (no disrespect to Royce Freeman or anyone else) can be that person. Overall the depth at the position is relatively shallow, and highlights how Dallas should continue adding there even if they are fine with Zeke as a primary option, especially if they don’t want Zeke to have a huge workload.


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