The 2020 season fell well short of the tremendous hype and expectations for the Dallas Cowboys. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s diminished production became a driving point for criticism. However, Elliott has created excitement from the fan base after a single Instagram post.
Ezekiel Elliott struggles through the 2020 season
Among the many Cowboys disappointments that unfolded last season were Elliott‘s production struggles.
The star running back’s numbers were far from his norm as he finished 11th with 979 rushing yards along with being tied for 23rd with six rushing touchdowns and 41st with a career-low 4.0 yards per attempt. It marked the second time in his first five seasons he failed to record 1,000 rushing yards. Beyond that, he tied his career-worst mark with six fumbles, with five of them lost.
Elliott broke 100 rushing yards twice while he had more than 20 carries three times. His production partially suffered due to Dak Prescott’s absence combined with the numerous significant injuries along the offensive line. The Cowboys played much of the season without right tackle La’el Collins, who was lost to a hip injury, All-Pro tackle Tyron Smith suffered a neck ailment that required surgery, and Pro Bowler Zach Martin missed extended time due to a calf injury.
However, it doesn’t mask the production issues the 25-year-old experienced throughout the campaign. It’s brought forth questions concerning his ability to return to producing at an elite level. All that has created plenty of motivation for Elliott to bounce back in a significant way.
The three-time Pro Bowler has given Cowboys fans another reason for excitement about what may lie ahead next season.
Ezekiel Elliott sparks Cowboys fans’ excitement with a single Instagram post
Elliott holds a strong desire to put his lackluster 2020 season behind him.
The 25-year-old took that motivation to heart by getting himself in tremendous physical shape this offseason. He’s posted numerous workout videos on social media displaying his quick burst and speed in drills. However, a recent photo of himself working out shirtless has created a buzz with Cowboys fans around his prospects for next season.
Over the last few years, he’s dealt with lingering injuries that have impacted his performance. In other words, Elliott’s health plays a critical role in him putting forth the type of production Cowboys fans expect.
He will get every opportunity to recapture the form that earned him a reputation as one of the game’s best running backs. If he does so, it could effectively brush aside questions concerning his ability while preventing backup Tony Pollard from building traction toward a more significant role.
Elliott is a workhorse running back who the Cowboys’ offense can lean on to push it forward. 2021 isn’t a make-or-break year, but a successful season would undoubtedly go a long way in silencing the lingering doubt.
Dallas is eyeing more than a playoff berth
Elliott’s performance is one of the most significant storylines that will follow the Cowboys through the 2021 season.
The star running back wants to get back on the saddle behind elite production, but the team’s collective eyes are on reaching the playoffs. Dallas committed itself to a four-year, $160 million deal with Prescott, hoping to see him guide it forward into becoming an NFL powerhouse.
Meanwhile, the front office went through this year’s draft with a defense-heavy approach to revamp the unit. The team selected a defensive player with each of its first six picks, including eight of the 11 total selections.
The Cowboys will enter next season with plenty of hype due to their offensive talent, but it’s on them to prove on the field that it can translate to sustained success.