One of the most fascinating, but least discussed, arguments from the first broadcast of Hard Knocks Tuesday was a particularly intimate conversation about Ezekiel Elliot.
The HBO cameras began to roll and caught a conversation between the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy, and Executive Vice President Stephen Jones on the star runner’s fitness at the start of practice – a hot topic at Oxnard.
“I don’t think we should have him train for the entire training period,” McCarthy told Jones, through The Athletic. “He has had enough carries. He is in much better physical shape than he was last year ”.
Elliot arrived at Oxnard at a slim 216 pounds, down ten from the end of his poor 2020 season, in which the three-time pro-bowler added 979 yards, his worst record, and six touchdowns, equaling his worst record.
The results, in sight.
The momentum, evident.
“I improved my diet, I changed the way I trained – I definitely made an effort to get lighter at the beginning of the season,” Elliot told Erin Andrews, de Fox Sports, during last week’s Hall of Fame game.
The work paid off. Elliot looks slimmer and seems to be a bit faster. React faster. Maybe it was on purpose. Perhaps the $ 90 million player was told he had to lose weight. Or perhaps the weight loss was a conscious effort to shed the weight that was last season.
However, his coaches are reluctant to “let it go” is no surprise. McCarthy told the NFL world long before Dallas’ big screen debut.
“We have Tony Pollard, and Rico [Dowdle] is performing very well ”, said last month, via SB Nation. “We have younger players who can play and produce, so Zeke doesn’t need to have 25-30 carries per game. When you have to play in December and January, you need him in prime condition so that he can carry the ball 25 to 30 times a game if necessary.
Does less preseason mean more rusty players?
In your last batch of emailsDavid Helman and Rob Phillips of the Cowboys website were asked an intriguing question: Is there a relationship between Elliot’s limited preseason and his “weak performances” at the beginning of each season?
“Last year was clearly a difficult year for Zeke, given his high standard, but I wouldn’t say his poor starts have been a pattern during his career,” Phillips wrote in response. “In 2017 he had to deal with a suspension and last year the pandemic was a negative factor for the preparation of all the players. As McCarthy said on the show, he came to workouts in great shape. And I think it’s important to monitor a running back’s preseason work. The Cowboys did the same with Emmitt Smith at the time, and have even done that with Zeke since his rookie year.
Helman added: “Theoretically possible, although I must point out that Zeke did play preseason as a rookie and still struggled early in the season. You have to compare the risk with the reward. It’s a shame Zeke needs a week or two to get up to speed, but that’s much better than losing him for a long time for a minor game. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t see it as a big deal to take such a risk.
READ MORE: Former Real Madrid star is America’s new coach: Who will replace
to Miguel Herrera?
This is the original version of Heavy.com por Zack Kelberman