Is Zeke back? A question that Cowboys fans have been asking for years now with many waiting, wondering if Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was going to return to a shade of his 2016 season. In my mind, this question poses a simple answer.
Zeke is what he is. He is a good NFL running back, that was at one point elite; and one who is having his best season in years.
Simply put, Ezekiel Elliott is not 21 years old anymore like he was in 2016 when he rushed for over 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is 27 with a ton of mileage and clearly was not 100% most of last season.
But the Zeke we are seeing this season so far is the best we have seen since at least 2019.
In seven games this season Zeke has rushed for 443 yards, leads the team in touchdowns with 4, and is averaging over 60 yards on the ground a game. This is coming with an uptick in touches for Tony Pollard who is averaging roughly 10 carries a game and has double-digit rushing attempts in back-to-back games.
Relying on the eye test, Zeke is looking fast, explosive, and as elusive as we have seen him in years. He is hurdling defenders, getting into the secondary, and as always, falling forward and getting tough yards.
'Boys on the move!
Tony Pollard is why the question of whether or not Zeke is “back” is pointless. Pollard is younger, clearly more of a big play threat, and as good, if not better, than Zeke at this point in time.
Because of Pollard, the Cowboys no longer need Ezekiel Elliott to magically return to his 2016 self to run the ball effectively. The Cowboys are running the ball better than they have in a while averaging 122 rushing yards a game and 4.3 yards per attempt. And while Zeke does lead the team in yards and touchdowns I think we can all agree he isn't necessarily the clear RB1.
Ezekiel Elliott as the perennial 1,300-yard rusher is done; so stop holding him to that standard. He is still a damn good running back and a quality weapon on offense that defenses have to account for.