Fan or foe, I don’t think there is anyone who would argue against Ezekiel Elliott being one of the best running backs in the entire league. But you know what… I think he has a chance of being even better in 2020 than what we have seen from him in the past. In fact, I’m predicting a monster year for Zeke this season.
Now, I fully understand if you’re reluctant to believe my previous statement. After all, there’s a lot of offseason moves one could argue hurt Ezekiel Elliott more than they will help.
The Dallas Cowboys hired a new head coach in Mike McCarthy, Travis Frederick retired, Jason Witten left via free agency, and no one knows who will start at left guard. I get it. It’s a tough pill to swallow.
The optimist in me believes all of those negatives could actually turn into positives that help Zeke. Mike McCarthy for one has publicly stated “Zeke will be a primary focus for us offensively”, so there’s no reason to worry his addition will negatively impact No. 21’s production. But what about replacing Travis Frederick and Jason Witten?
Losing Travis Frederick to retirement is a pretty big blow for the Cowboys offense. Fortunately, they survived just fine without him in 2018 when he set out the season due to his autoimmune disease. Replacing Jason Witten though isn’t as clear-cut. Blake Jarwin will no doubt be an upgrade as a receiving threat, but he’s nowhere near as good as Witten as a blocker.
None of this is exactly backing up my stance believing Ezekiel Elliott will have a monster year in 2020 is it? Well, let me try to convince you…
Despite the loss of Travis Frederick, the Dallas Cowboys are still going to have a very good offensive line regardless of who starts at center or left guard. And while Blake Jarwin isn’t the same kind of blocker as Jason Witten, he will open up things differently due to his impact in the passing game. So, any worries there can be checked off in my opinion.
Mike McCarthy has been known as an offensive minded head coach, but he was so impressed with Kellen Moore’s first year as an offensive coordinator he decided to keep him around. That means the offensive scheme will change very little, if any in 2020. Again, that’s great news for Ezekiel Elliott.
What about Tony Pollard cutting into Zeke’s workload?
I hear you and actually think that’s a positive. Having a backup capable of coming in every now and then to give Ezekiel Elliott a breather will only help in my opinion. That should keep him fresh and prevents him from wearing down as the season progresses.
The biggest thing that will help Zeke’s production in my opinion is all of the playmakers the Dallas Cowboys have in the passing game. I’ve already talked about Blake Jarwin, and Tony Pollard could be a factor there as well, but I haven’t mentioned Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. Those three will make stacking the box to contain Zeke nearly impossible. No more seven, eight, and nine man boxes!
As you can see, things are set up just right for Ezekiel Elliott to have a huge 2020 season. You of course may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Zeke ends up having the best year of his entire career this season.