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Mike McCarthy Reveals Ezekiel Elliott Played w/ Torn PCL Since Week 4

Cowboys said in a media session yesterday that played most of the season with a torn PCL. Zeke reportedly injured his knee against the in Week 4.

According to McCarthy, the will not require surgery and will be fully healed by the start of the with rest. But while that's good news, it leaves some big questions about how Elliott was used throughout 2021.

Zeke did have one more big day last season after the injury; 110 rushing yards the following week against the giants. But from that point forward Elliott never got more than 18 carries in a game and often averaged well less than 4.0 yards per carry.

The puzzling aspect of all this is that the Cowboys continued force Zeke into the instead of letting take over. If rest is all that's needed, as McCarthy suggested yesterday, then why not let Pollard be RB1 for a while and give Elliott exactly what the injury called for?

To be fair to all of our offensive skill players this year, issues certainly didn't help rushing production. Between that nullified good runs and poor blocking that didn't allow for more, even an injured Elliott had his numbers hurt by the lack of consistent o-line performance in front of him.

In a way, those o-line issues did contribute to Elliott needing to stay on the field more. His exceptional pass blocking, which we witnessed several times throughout the year, was vital as opposing defenses blitzed to take advantage of missing and underperforming offensive linemen.

Nevertheless, the disparity in touches between and injured Elliott and the more explosive Pollard is hard to explain.

With over $30 million in dead money still on his contract in 2022, Ezekiel Elliott isn't going anywhere this . We can only hope that this injury was the real issue last season and that he will be back to his usual self next year.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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James Vargas

Not sure if it was Zeke’s stuborness to be in, or McCarthy receiving instructions from Mr Jones to have him in the games. Either way, both were dumb decisions.


What’s really sad is Clement ended up with the same 4.2 ypc that Zeke did. He wasn’t a liability in pass protection, either. Where he was behind Zeke was as a receiving option. Although, at times, Zeke wasn’t all that reliable as a receiver either.

Should’ve rested Zeke, given as many snaps to Pollard as he could tolerate with his plantar fasciitis, used Clement to relieve Pollard, and elevated Hardy to be the backup and closer. Later, they also had Ito Smith that they could bring in as well (got some snaps against the Eagles).

There’s grit and determination, and then there’s pig-headed stubbornness. Witten turned grit and determination into pig-headed stubbornness towards the end. From what I’ve seen, Zeke is trending more towards the stubbornness side.

This coaching staff has a lot of pigheadedness. Not as much as with Garrett in charge, but still too much.


One can conclude, many of these overblown long-term contracts are having a negative effect on the team’s ability to win even first round PS games. The cause is either the stupidity of the ownership or the greediness of the players, or maybe a bit of both. Either way, the fans are screwed for the foreseeable future. Face it, DP is not going get better after six years, as he probably hit his ceiling. In fact, he seems to be regressing, as former Cowboy WR great Drew Pearson pointed out recently. As far as EE, RBs usually don’t get better with age, and really, he wasn’t playing that great those past two years.

So, the two most important players on offense, are hurting the team by, first, not playing up to their compensation, and two, inhibiting the team’s ability to possibly find better players thru the draft or FA and insert them into the starting lineup. DP’s contract is particularly egregious, so sadly they, and we, are probably stuck with him for a while, at least, unless they can somehow find a trade partner. On the other hand, for me, if a BIGTIME RB prospect is available when it’s their turn at draft time, I would seriously consider taking the plunge. Of course, it’s not my money.


It’s not a great year for top RB prospects. But, there are a lot of quality ones throughout the early big boards. Kenneth Walker III (Michigan State) and Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M) are probably the top two, and only Walker is currently projected to go in the 1st…barely. I wouldn’t spend a 1st on a RB again, even if there were some really good ones.

I’d rather see them pick up Kennedy Brooks (Sooners) in the mid-rounds. He sat out 2020 because of the Covid thing. So, even though he’s mainly a bruiser back, he’s got a lot less mileage on his tires. He’s also decent as a pass protector and receiver.

James Vargas

Completely agree with your take lonewolf. The type of games the NFL plays nowadays, you are much better of drafting a good OL than a good QB. You can get very decent RB’s in the 4th or 5th round.

James Vargas

Didn’t mean QB. Meant RB.


Yup, RB isn’t a premium position anymore. Build that OL, DL or upgrade your QB, WR’s or DB’s with your 1st rounders.

If you’ve got a dominant OL, it can make a decent RB and QB look awesome. If you’ve got a dominant DL, it can hide your deficiencies at LB and DB. It all starts in the trenches.

Parsons was the exception as a LB. He’s a spectacular athlete with outstanding position flex. I wasn’t sold on taking him last draft, but luckily Quinn had a plan on how to get the most out of him.

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