Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott showing leadership year after big distractions


Ezekiel Elliott’s 2017 season was filled with turmoil. After playing his rookie season under investigation by the league over domestic violence accusations he was never charged with, the stress seemed to wear on him. It clearly weighed on him as observers wondered what his preparation level was.

The NFL finally ruled in August and the real fight began. From the pre-season through the first half of the regular season, there were numerous court cases from Texas to New York as various judges weighed in on whether or not the NFL had handled the process correctly.

Executive VP Stephen Jones spoke on the trials Elliott fought through in 2017.

“I actually think that he’s learned a lot from his experience,” Jones chimed in on Wednesday. “I think he went through a lot of difficult times. I think he stood for what he believed in last year. You’re naive to not think there weren’t distractions in his mind with what he was going through week to week.”

Critics would point to these off-field issues as the reason for the drop Elliot’s in performance. Elliot dropped an entire yard in his per-carry average from 5.1 YPC to 4.1 YPC. By mid-season, fans saw the old Elliott as he started to display his previous form, but after his six-game suspension became official in November, fans witnessed two sub-par performances from Elliott to close out the season.

2018 has been very quiet for the former first-round pick. There were no TMZ headlines plastered on every social media platform reporting anything that would be damaging to his reputation. Elliott demonstrating high character all throughout OTA and the minicamp has the coaches excited for the start of the 2018 season.

Head coach Jason Garrett addressed the subject on how Elliott showed up in the offseason.

“I thought he had a really good offseason. Really consistent in his approach. Thought he got better and better physically, as he was in the offseason program on  a consistent basis,” Garrett said. “Serious minded, focused, really grasped the leadership role in that running back room. I thought he practiced really well, setting the example for the rest of the group.”

Garrett made clear what kind of leader Elliott is, by example and not the rah-rah type.

“Didn’t say a whole lot, it wasn’t like all of a sudden ‘I’m Joe Leader, I’m one of these guys’. It wasn’t that at all. It was just doing things the right way, everybody sees it. Really set a great job setting an example for the standards that we want established for our team. Serious-minded, came in, looks in good shape. Did well in our conditioning run this morning, again excited about where he is.”

For the Cowboys to be successful, Elliott is an essential piece to the puzzle. With the offensive line healthy, and the addition of second-round pick Connor Williams, Elliott should return to form as the workhorse for the offense.



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