Despite starting the season with a 7-2 record, the Dallas Cowboys are in the midst of a minor rough spot. The Denver Broncos crushed them at home two weeks ago, and the Kansas City Chiefs knocked them off during a big-time Week 11 showdown.
With a Thanksgiving Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders looming, the Cowboys are looking to get back on track sooner rather than later. The division rival Philadelphia Eagles have quietly started surging up the NFC East standings recently — the last thing the Cowboys want to do is open the door too wide for Philly.
Ezekiel Elliott criticized the Cowboys’ passing game
The Cowboys’ Week 11 loss was an intensely frustrating afternoon for the Dallas offense. Despite playing a weak and depleted Chiefs defense, the Cowboys only mustered up a measly nine points. They failed to reach the end zone entirely.
The Cowboys’ typically dominant passing attack was at the forefront of their issues against the Chiefs. Prescott only passed for 216 yards on 43 attempts and threw two interceptions. It was arguably Prescott’s worst game of the season, considering the opponent and what was at stake.
After the loss, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott didn’t hold back with his frustration. He believes the Cowboys need to get back to running the football to have a successful offense.
“I think running the football has to be important to us,” Elliott said. “I think it helps this offense. We’re a better football team when we can run it well. I think it will be a point for us Thursday to get that run game going.”
Elliott took a subtle shot at Dak Prescott with his comments
It was likely unintentional. However, Elliott’s comments do cast a somewhat negative light on Prescott and the offense. Early in Prescott’s and Elliott’s Cowboys careers, the offense was far more run-oriented. Elliott was viewed as the primary engine, with Prescott supplementing in as an above-average game manager.
However, since Prescott started establishing himself as an elite thrower, the Cowboys’ offense has become increasingly more pass-heavy. Elliott is only averaging 15.1 carries per game this season, down a whole 9.1 carries from where he was in 2017.
Prescott is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL right now and deserves the opportunity to win and lose games with his arm. However, Elliott makes a half-decent point. He only logged nine carries against the Chiefs, which is a ridiculously low number for someone as well-paid as Elliott.
Will the Cowboys commit to the run?
Elliott publicly sharing his desire for more touches may cause minor changes to the Cowboys’ scheme. However, it’s hard to imagine the team delving too far away from their current strategy. They’ve seemingly fallen in love with the idea of possessing an elite, pass-first style offense.
The accumulation of three elite wide receivers in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup proves as such.
The Cowboys take on the Raiders on Thanksgiving, intending to improve to 8-3. Only time will tell if they try to do so via the air or on the ground.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.