It has been a while since Ezekiel Elliott was the No. 1 option in the Dallas Cowboys’ offense. That didn’t stop Jerry Jones from gushing about the veteran running back’s importance to the team on Thursday’s special episode of First Take with Stephen A. Smith from The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Jerry Jones on @FirstTake on Ezekiel Elliott: “It’s still a fact, we go as Zeke goes.” pic.twitter.com/PsuQV91cAF
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 25, 2022
“[Elliot is] in the best shape he’s ever been in,” Jones told the First Take crew in his interview. “Now, it is still a fact: we go as Zeke goes. I know it’s a lot on Dak [Prescott’s] shoulders, but we go as Zeke goes. He’s very capable of being everything we’ve ever wanted to be.”
Jones didn’t forget the second half of Dallas’ dynamic backfield. Tony Pollard also got a shoutout from the Cowboys owner.
“The wild card is the guy standing beside [Elliott], [Tony] Pollard,” Jones said. “We put Pollard in some plans that, with Zeke, for the defenses to have to work against midweek and be ready to play, then you’ve got Pollard. We really like where we are at running back, but it all starts with Zeke.”
Jones might believe that Elliott is still the heart and soul of the Cowboys’ offense, but it has been the passing game that has shown up more often in recent years. After drafting Elliott in 2016, the Cowboys ran the ball more than any team in football that year, 49.4% of the time. That was with Elliott handling nearly all of the Cowboys’ running back duties. Last season that number dropped to 41% in a split backfield.
Prescott has taken the reins as Dallas’ No. 1 playmaker on offense from a statistical standpoint, but Jones says he believes Elliott can still be the player he drafted five years ago. After a dismal offseason, the Cowboys would really benefit in order to hit their ceiling.