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Increased Workload Ahead for RB Ezekiel Elliott?

Good news is on the horizon for many in Cowboys Nation; Ezekiel Elliott is about to see an increase in his workload.

David Helman from DallasCowboys.com shared this from Dallas Cowboys running backs coach, Gary Brown, insinuating that the team is looking to get the ball to Zeke even more in 2017.

David Helman on Twitter

Cowboys RBs coach Gary Brown says the plan is to get Zeke Elliott the ball even more in Year 2.

As you can see, Coach Brown even suggests the possibility that Elliott could take direct snaps during games if he can handle that.

Wildcat anyone?

If they line Elliott up in the backfield to take a direct snap, I could see all kinds of running game possibilities. From him running the ball himself, Elliott handing the ball off to Ryan Switzer or Lucky Whitehead on the jet sweep, or even some option plays with running back Darren McFadden lined up next to him.

Oh the possibilities. 

Where are we likely to see an increase in his touch totals though? At 322 carries, he was the only running back to carry the ball more than 300 times in 2016. Elliott was one of only four running backs to carry the ball more than 290 times. Those other backs were LeGarrette Blount, David Johnson, and DeMarco Murray.

There’s a good bet that Elliott will see at least the same amount of carries he saw in 2016.

Let’s remember too, that he didn’t play in the season finale. If Dallas had to win that game, you can bet Elliott would have seen 20+ touches against Philadelphia. That would have likely put him around 350 carries or so.

His carry count isn’t going to decrease in 2017, so I imagine this means Elliott will see more work in the passing game.

Though many bemoaned the team not seeking a “third down back,” it’s obvious that they have a really good receiving back in Elliott.

His 11.3 yards per reception ranked third amongst running backs with at least 30 receptions. Only Tevin Coleman (13.6) of the Atlanta Falcons and Spencer Ware (13.5) of the Kansas City Chiefs had a better yards per reception than Elliott.

As was on display in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Elliott has a great feel for the screen game, excellent hands, agility and quickness to be a threat down the field.

Ezekiel Elliott
RB Ezekiel Elliott #21

He may not be Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead, but Ezekiel Elliott has the ability to be an effective weapon in the passing game. The coaches just need to get him the ball.

It’s not surprising that the team wants to get arguably its best skill position player the ball more, meaning 2,000 total yards should be well within reach.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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