The Dallas Cowboys are having a great season. In fact, they could clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night and get some help on Sunday. The two reasons why the Cowboys are 10-1 is because of the fantastic play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and historic season by fellow rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.
This season, Elliott has rushed for 1,119 yards on 243 carries and 11 touchdowns and it looks like the Cowboys have no plans on lessening his workload.
On Tuesday, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones made it clear that Elliott will continue to get the ball as it’s a winning formula.
“The more we give Ezekiel the ball, then I think the better,” Jones said via Todd Archer of ESPN. “We’re winning with that. We’re wearing them down on defense.”
This season, Dallas’ offense leads the NFL in average time per drive with 3:19, which can be attributed to Elliott. When DeMarco Murray had his breakout season in 2014, the Cowboys were third in the NFL in average time per drive with 2:56. Only the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers had the ball longer.
The Cowboys have had a history of giving their running backs a ridiculous amount of carries over the years, going back to Emmitt Smith. Jones, however, who at the time expressed concern about Smith’s workload, also saw how productive he was.
“I look back at Emmitt Smith. Everybody expressed, including ourselves, concern because Emmitt was carrying such a load,” he said. “And of course I think he carried the ball more than I think anyone has in their career in the NFL. But Emmitt was solid. He was certainly productive.”
While Smith was productive, he is also a hall of famer, something that Elliott isn’t yet. Elliott is only a rookie, who is coming off of 289 carries in his final season at Ohio State. It will be interesting to see if Elliott can hold up and lead the Cowboys into a deep playoff run.