It shouldn’t surprise anyone who watched the Dallas Cowboys during the 2021 season that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot was suffering from injury.
Despite both the eye test and numbers results, Dallas continued to give Elliott more snaps that Tony Pollard. He proved to be a great option for rushing on numerous occasions. Week after week, Elliott and Mike McCarthy kept telling reporters that the RB1 was improving, getting stronger, and ready to play.
Cowboys Nation discovers that this is not true just four days after Dallas’ devastating playoff loss. Mike McCarthy stated to reporters that Elliott was playing on a partially-torn PCL since Week 4.
It was extremely frustrating to hear this. Why didn’t Elliott rest? If Pollard was performing better than Elliott, why didn’t he get more snaps? McCarthy didn’t disclose any other information throughout the season. The Cowboys had a 37.7% success ratio on the ground from Week 9-18. Perhaps it’s because they refused rest their RB1.
The chart below shows Elliott’s productivity decreasing each week. The organization didn’t stop playing him, giving him more snaps than Pollard. Please don’t let Elliott’s blocking be used as an excuse for the discrepancy.
Mike McCarthy said that Ezekiel Elliott partially tore his PCL in Week 4 against the Panthers.
You can literally see the drop off happen throughout his season yet the Cowboys continued to give him more carries than Tony Pollard. pic.twitter.com/q7JCV4Ckki
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) January 19, 2022
Why did Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott get more snaps than Pollard if he was playing with a torn PCL?
Even more surprising is the fact that Elliott carried the most yards in Week 5, against the New York Giants (21), the week following the match where McCarthy claims the running back suffered an injury . This is reckless and dangerous. Elliott was not necessary for the Cowboys to win that game. He could have been allowed to rest against one the worst teams in league.
Elliott ran for 87 yards in Week 5 against Philadelphia, his next run of more than 80. It was great to have him run for 1,000 yards this season. Why not let him rest in a game that was almost meaningless? He had seven games of 50 yards or less from Week 8-18.
When Pollard was a healthy and capable option for the majority of the season, how does Elliott playing at his full potential make sense? The former Ohio State Buckeye running back has been a great player for a long time. He wasn’t the best rusher on his team this year.
Once again Tony Pollard outperformed Ezekiel Elliott in most major efficiency categories this year. #Cowboys #DC4L per player profiler
(Row 1 & 2: Zeke — Row 3 & 4: Pollard) pic.twitter.com/SJeWB06LAS
— Reid D Hanson (@ReidDHanson) January 19, 2022
How can McCarthy, Kellen Moore, or the front office justify not resting Elliott if they have all the facts, evidence, and numbers? At the very least, they should be feeding Elliott less than he is currently receiving. After being injured, Pollard only had six touches during his last two games.
Unfortunately, this was only one of many frustrating instances from Wednesday’s press conference by the head coach. He disagreed that Dak Prescott should not have given the ball to the centre in the last seconds of the game. He did not answer questions regarding Pollard’s use. He stated that the final play was the correct one. It’s all just confusing.
McCarthy assured Elliott that he would not require surgery and will make a full recovery. We don’t know what we should believe at this stage.