The Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2021 season, hoping to put last year’s shortcomings behind them. The optimism continues to generate tremendous internal expectations from the Cowboys. It’s led star running back Ezekiel Elliott to jump entirely onboard the hype train ahead of next season.
Ezekiel Elliott stumbled through 2020 season
The 2020 season was filled with plenty of disappointment in Dallas, including Elliott‘s production shortcomings.
The Pro Bowl running back finished below his standards as he ranked 11th with 979 rushing yards while being tied for 23rd with six rushing touchdowns and posted a career-low 4.0 yards per attempt. It marked the second time in his first five seasons that he failed to break 1,000 rushing yards.
The 26-year-old tied a career-worst mark with six fumbles and tallied more than 100 rushing yards only twice. Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury certainly impacted Elliott’s production, but it’s hard to ignore the dip in the star running back’s performance.
As the two-time league-leading rusher prepares for the 2021 season, he added another lofty goal.
Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott’s lofty goal is a warning shot to NFL defenses
The Cowboys entered the offseason hopeful to put last year’s shortcomings aside with a clean slate ahead in 2021.
Much of the buzz around the team remains centered on the offensive potential, as the group is filled with Pro Bowl talent. It became sparked by Prescott voicing that Dallas should possess the league’s top offense next season.
Elliott recently added more fuel to the fire by airing that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore told the team that the expectation is to hold the NFL’s No. 1 rated offense.
“In our first meeting, coach Kellen [Moore] said our No. 1 goal this year is to be the No. 1 offense,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said, via Schuyler Dixon of The Associated Press.
The lofty aspirations are fueled by the strong start the Cowboys experienced through the first five games of the 2020 season. Dallas ranked first in total offense while Prescott led the league with 1,856 passing yards, including becoming the first player in NFL history to post back-to-back games with at least 500 passing yards.
After that point, things fell apart due to injuries as Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Meanwhile, the offensive line struggled to stay healthy as Tyron Smith and La’el Collins became sidelined for much of the year.
Dallas’ hopes are tied to the team remaining healthy. Although it’s a small sample size, it’s proven to be enough to elicit firm conviction throughout the organization. Ultimately, the proof will need to be in the pudding.
Cowboys are aiming for a Super Bowl push
The Cowboys‘ aspirations are aiming much higher than holding the league’s best offense.
Dallas not only wants to return to the playoff as the NFC East champions but contend for the Super Bowl. The franchise hasn’t found any level of consistency that would label them as a legitimate title contender. It’s either been injuries or lackluster play defensively that have prevented them from pushing toward that goal.
The 2021 season holds plenty of promise, as it’s a chance to see if the Cowboys possess the talent to bring a Vince Lombardi trophy back to Dallas for the first time in nearly three decades. The journey begins with a challenging task against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 action.
It’s an early test that will give Dallas a chance to gauge where they rank against one of the league’s best teams. The Cowboys clearly hold the focus geared toward bringing the franchise back to prominence; it’s on them to prove it on the field.