The Dallas Cowboys have dealt with more injuries than they could imagine in 2020. Two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott has been on the injury report since a calf issue came about during the team’s Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Elliott had planned to play through the injury, however, 90 minutes before the Cowboys took on the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Elliott was out and second-year runner Tony Pollard would be getting the start. On Wednesday, Elliott said he’s feeling better at this point in the week than he has since his ailment.
“I feel better today than I have in the last three weeks on a Wednesday,” Elliott said.
Elliott had started 69 consecutive games up until that point. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, he felt a tug on his calf during a workout the day before the 49ers game and was deemed out after his calf didn’t loosen up during pre-game warmups. Just days away from a critical matchup against the rival Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Elliott feels he’s on track to make a return to the field.
“I’m feeling way better than I did last week,” Elliott said. Obviously with the rest this weekend it’s going to be feeling better. I actually got out here at practice, ran around some in team drills. It’s definitely making the right steps to be ready for Sunday … Definitely feels better with the rest and looking good for this weekend.”
2020 hasn’t been the statistical season that Elliott had hoped for. He’s only reached 100 yards once after having at least five games over the century mark in each of his first four seasons. A lot of that can be attributed to the laundry list of injuries on the offensive line. Tyron Smith and La’el Collins were hit with season-ending injuries and perennial All-Pro Zack Martin hasn’t played since Week 12. Also, earlier in the season Elliott had a fumbling issue but has gotten it under control.
His struggles have led to enormous criticism on whether or not he’s worth the $15 million a year price tag he currently plays on. Those rumblings got even louder after Pollard racked up 132 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in his absence against the 49ers. Elliott, however, isn’t phased one bit about what others outside the organization think about his play.
“At the end of the day, those aren’t the people signing my checks,” Elliott said. “Those aren’t the cats that are making the final decisions, so I mean I think there’s a reason they’re not the ones making those decisions. I don’t think it really matters. It doesn’t hold much with me what people outside this building are saying. All that matters to us is the people in this building.”
Elliott’s 832 yards on the season still put him in position to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in five years if he plays the final two weeks.
The Cowboys are one game behind the Washington Football Team for first place in NFC East. To make the postseason, they’ll need to win out and have Washington lose their final two games. It’s a long shot, but it appears if the Cowboys are to pull it off, Elliott will be leading the way in the backfield per usual.