Is Ezekiel Elliott Done?

July 19th, 2021


It’s never too early to write about the first Bucs’ opening day opponent.

That is the Dallas Cowboys, fresh off of “Hard Knocks” and traveling to The Licht House to open the season against the Bucs on Thursday Night Football.

Last year the Cowboys were a train wreck. The offensive line was a sieve. Dak Prescott had an ugly foot injury. And the Pro Bowl version of running back Ezekiel Elliott was a no-show.

Earlier this month, noted handicapper, gambler and numbers nerd (Joe types that in a loving way because this guy is a fun read), Warren Sharp, released a tease for his Sharp Football Analysis 2021 NFL Preview. In the past, the preview is loaded with interesting angles and numbers.

This preview of a preview Sharp was a chapter on the Cowboys and Sharp took Elliott to task for being invisible for the Cowboys in 2020. Sharp seems to wonder if Elliott is toast?

The other question: where was Zeke?

There are many arguments that the pro-running back crowd likes to make in support of having a blue chip, highly-drafted back: His production will be special. He can support below average quarterback play. He’ll generate yards beyond what his line is blocking. He’s so much better than the next guy on deck.

In one season, Zeke undermined all of those arguments. Not that they weren’t already debunked by countless other highly-drafted running backs over the years. But I challenge any pro-RB individual to defend their stance after witnessing what happened in Dallas last year.

As a team, the Cowboys averaged 4.3 yards a run. Elliott was just meh with 4.0 yards per attempt. Interestingly, a big back like Elliott didn’t have much YAC. Elliott averaged 1.9 yards per run after contact, which is way down for him.

Is 1.9 really bad? Well, in 2018, Peyton Barber averaged 1.8 yards per run after contact for the Bucs. So you be the judge.

Shoot, Elliott’s backup Tony Pollard had a better yards per carry (4.3) than Elliott and nearly identical YAC numbers.

It won’t be any easier for Elliott in the season-opener. The Bucs have the best rush defense in the NFL. Don’t you think Devin White would love to plant a shoulder pad into Elliott’s ribs?

If the Bucs bury Elliott, is Joe going to feel sorry for the $90 million QB (if he finishes his current contract)? Not one damn bit.

27 Responses to “Is Ezekiel Elliott Done?”

  1. D-Rome Says:

    I think it’s fair to ask if Ezekiel Elliott is done. Cowboys fans, fantasy football fans, and some handicappers may convince themselves that ‘Zeke has plenty of all-pro productive years in him but I see him falling by the wayside in the same way that Todd Gurley did.

  2. SB~LV Says:

    I hope Warren Sapp can get back into NFL commentary, he deserves one more chance!

  3. Bobby M. Says:

    Elliot would be an immediate upgrade over our entire group of RBs…..he’s still a top tier back.

  4. Steven007 Says:

    Bobby, based on production from a few years ago? Based on production from a few years ago Todd Gurley would also be our best back. Which he clearly is not and/or wouldn’t be. Let’s stay current.

  5. BillyBucOff Says:

    Elliot wouldn’t even be running back #2 on our current roster from last years numbers.

  6. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    This is what I was saying about Zeke, one of the most overpaid overrated players in the NFL. ESPECIALLY considering his position. Shelling out via draft capital or salary for a running back doesn’t make teams significantly better anymore.

    Using draft picks on almost any other position except special teams is usually better spent.

  7. AL121976 Says:

    Look like Happy hour started early for Bobby

  8. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Also the Offensive line is more important then what running back you have.

  9. PassingThru Says:

    Yep, Tampabucsbro got it. Most of what a RB generates on the ground is due to the OLine. If the OLine sucks, that RB isn’t going anywhere. For example, one of the best RBs in the history of the game had awful seasons up in Buffalo as he played behind dreadful OLines. Once Buffalo fixed the OLine, he became an absolute terror in the NFL. He became an absolute terror in Los Angeles too, but that’s another story.

    The Dallas OLine was easily one of the two best in the NFL during Zeke’s earlier seasons. When that OLine began to deteriorate, so did Zeke’s ground game. There might even be some life left in Le’Veon Bell (not that anyone will sign him) his deterioration was the result of moving from an excellent Steelers OLine to the depths of hell in New York.

  10. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    I hope the Bucs place a Salvation Army Barrell in the end zone for OUR RBs to jump in to after scoring TDs that Thursday night. Still pisses me off that Zeke did that against us on, I think it was a Thanksgiving Day game a few years ago. I hope they play that over and over again to our defensive players before or game.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    “I don’t overpay for that position.”

    -Not a Cowboy coach

  12. Slugglife Says:

    Smoke another one Bobby.

  13. SOEbuc Says:

    Smh BIG TIME. You just named a team with big, multiple problems in 2020 and now you say he’s maybe done.

    2020: 244-979 yards-6 TD (4.0 avg)
    2019: 301-1,357 yards-12 TD (4.5 avg)
    2018: 304- 1,434 yards-6 TD (4.7 avg)
    2017: 242- 983 yards- 7 TD (4.1 avg)
    2016: 322- 1,631 yards-15 TD (5.1 avg)

    I know there’s a high unemployment rate in the US right now but BSPN and these other clowns need to stop hiring these idiots, or cut their losses with them cus these people are ridiculous.

    #6 DAYS!!! LFG!!!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    He’d probably be called for grabbing the face mask because it’s too close but I’d like to see Devin White drag down Zeke by yanking his snotty ring in the nose…..TWICE!!!

  15. All lives matter Says:

    Dallas’s offensive line ranked 27th last season. Bottom 1/3 in the league. It’s difficult to be a successful runner behind a poor o-line. Hopefully, for us, they didn’t do much to fix that and we dominate them with our front seven.

  16. Pewter Power Says:

    Is he done that is a ridiculous question to be asking after one season. I’m sure he can still tote the rock the question is can he stop fumbling it

  17. Mike C Says:

    B Sanders was the best ever with horrible lines.

  18. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I never really thought he was that great to begin with. In his best seasons that Cowboys line was really, really good. He’s not very elusive, and is just fast enough to be in the upper tier of backs. But his highlight reel consist mostly of him flying through a wide open hole getting full speed to the second level of the defense. I’m not sure who’s more overrated… Dak or Zeke. I think Zeke.

  19. SlyPirate Says:

    Don’t forget …

    #1 Most Fumbles by a Running Back in 2020
    Ezekiel Elliott (5)

  20. Bojim Says:

    I think Elliott was just going through the motions last year. Which doesn’t say much about his character and desire. Dak is making way too much.

  21. Stanglassman Says:

    Cowboys got a great one two punch. Tony Pollard is a great back too. I think even more dangerous vs the Bucs DL cause his explosive speed.

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    Elliot held out, got paid, and he’ll wait for another contract year before he puts in work again. He’ll be on cruise control for at least one more year.

  23. Hodad Says:

    You never give a RB a big second contract. Drafting one high on a rookie deal is good value. Four years later you sell, not pay more because you’re going to get less.

  24. Listnfrmafar Says:

    RB’s are overrated, they are not as valuable as in the past. In order to win in the NFL, a team needs to throw the ball. The perfect example is Baltimore. Bucs have the perfect mix.

  25. Buczilla Says:

    Unless it’s a late first rounder, or a special talent like Barry Sanders, teams should never spend a first round pick on a running back.

  26. Cpig Says:

    Agree with hodad. With the 5th year option it’s not that terrible to take RB in rd 1. If they are elite you have them locked up for at least 5 years or 6-7 with tags and that’s basically their whole career and you’re not overpaying too much. Just don’t give them the 2nd contract, and especially not the early extension, because Emmitt Smith and Curtis Martin are unicorns, and devoting that much cap to a position that can be filled on day 2 is probably creating holes at more important positions elsewhere on the roster.

    The flip side of the argument is every other rb taken in the 2nd-4th rd who produces almost as much as the 1st rd stud. The dropoff usually isn’t as significant as say, a 1st vs 3rd rd Edge, or LT, or DB, or WR, or LB. Those positions are all more valuable in the draft, so the rb would have to be really special. Maybe Zeke is that guy, maybe not.

  27. Kaimaru Says:

    PassingThru Says:

    Once Buffalo fixed the OLine, he became an absolute terror in the NFL. He became an absolute terror in Los Angeles too, but that’s another story.

    Wait what? I didn’t have an idea who you meant. Then I looked it up and the only RB to have a career in Buffalo and Los Angeles was Greg Bell. Greg Bell (contrary to your story) had his only good year in FIRST year. So the narrative it was the OLine is wrong. He averaged between 4.0 and 4.2 YPC his first 3 years in Buffalo. In Los Angeles he had monster TDs but rushes, yards and YPC was very similar to his first year in Buffalo.