There is no denying Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best, if not the best, running back in the entire NFL. He’s just one of those special players that makes things happen anytime he has the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, he didn’t really look like himself in 2017, but I’m expecting him to completely rebound this season and absolutely dominate.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive mindset in 2018 will once again incorporate a run first mentality. That means Ezekiel Elliott will be the focal point of the offense and his success or failure could end up determining how the Cowboys season turns out.
With that in mind, I thought I would share with you three reasons why I believe Zeke will return to his dominant form in 2018, and quite possibly be better than we have ever seen him. Continue reading below to see why we should be excited about Ezekiel Elliott this season.
At no point in 2017 did Ezekiel Elliott look like the player we are accustomed to seeing. In the games he did play, he looked almost lethargic to the point it looked as if he was just going through the motions. I think that had a lot to do with the pending suspension hanging over his head, which probably had more of an effect on him then he admitted.
It had to be an emotional roller coaster to go through such an ordeal, especially when you’re trying to clear your name. There’s no way it wouldn’t take a toll on someone, especially for a well-known professional athlete who plays for one of the most recognizable sports teams in the world. It was a burden that weighed him down last season.
With all that behind him now, I believe the 2016 rushing leader, Ezekiel Elliott, will once again return to his dominant form. I think we will see him bouncing around and having fun once again like he did his rookie season. That should equate to much better production and help fuel the Dallas Cowboys offense, who will once again have a run first mentality.
If you don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is out to prove something in 2018 after everything he went through last season, then you’ve got another thing coming. He believes, as do I, that he was unfairly targeted by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell. In fact, he should be completely outraged that they have done nothing regarding current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ruben Foster and his domestic violence situation.
Because of all of that, I believe Zeke is going to run a little bit extra angry throughout the 2018 season. He wants to distance himself from the “domestic abuser” label the NFL pretty much forced on him last year, and the best way to do that is by dominating on the field.
I have no doubt that he will be zeroed in this season and look much more like the player we saw in 2016. He will also be expected to be a leader of this team, which is a role I believe he will not only embrace, but excel at. It’s that renewed focus that should propel him into dominance once again.
Upgraded Offensive Line
The best way to make Ezekiel Elliott even better is to improve the blocking in front of him. That is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys did when they drafted Connor Williams with their second-round draft pick. Williams’ addition could possibly make the Cowboys offensive line the best it has ever been, which should make Elliott giddy with anticipation.
Connor Williams will not only be an upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at left guard last season (Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper), but has the ability to be even better than Ronald Leary. Leary was without a doubt the best of the three, which is why the Cowboys OL was the best when he was their starting LG. But, Williams has better movement/agility to make blocks Leary struggled making.
Williams is a much better player in space than any LG the Cowboys have had at their disposal, and he plays with power as well. His skill set will allow them to do anything they want as far as the blocking scheme goes in both the running and passing game. His addition will make Zeke a much better player as a runner, but also as a receiver as well on screens, which we should see much more of this season.