Ezekiel Elliott didn’t care what you thought a few weeks ago, when many of you wanted Tony Pollard to be the starting running back for the Cowboys.
He sure doesn’t care what you think now that he’s third in the NFL with 452 yards and a 5.3 per carry average.
Here’s what’s important: Elliott is once again among the NFL’s elite running backs and has helped the Cowboys regain their offensive identity.
That’s why Dallas is 4-1, second in the NFL in scoring with 34.0 points per game and has its longest winning streak since 2018.
Elliott is 26 years old and most runners find that their careers are over when they are 28 years old.
Elliott worked hard this summer to be the best version of himself.
He filled Instagram and Twitter with dozens of exercise videos.
He modified his diet, lost weight, and sculpted his body.
He came into training camp with a weight he hadn’t seen since his Ohio State days.
The impact of Elliott’s work is obvious.
Against the Giants, in last Sunday’s game, he had five runs of 10 yards or more.
He scored on a 13-yard touchdown run using speed and power.
A week earlier, he had a 47-yard run against Carolina, the longest since his rookie year.
“Zak is in a really good place,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said.
“Right now, it’s unbelievable.”
Elliott runs wildly, punishing the defenders with every carry, as he falls forward.
He’s engaging opposing defenses to stop him, which helps quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game.
Elliott is also smart enough to know that he will never see the last two years of his six-year, $ 90 million contract at the current price.
The only way to maintain his value and keep most of that money was to play well, something he did not do last year.
He gained 979 yards, averaged 4.0 per carry and was held under 60 yards eight times.
That happened only 10 times in his first five seasons.
Then there were the fumbles.
He tied his career record with six fumbles, and they played a direct role in Dallas’ 2-3 start before Prescott’s injury.
Rather than make excuses, Elliott took responsibility for his worst season in the NFL and spent the offseason improving.
Now the offense has regained its identity and the Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFL.