Ezekiel Elliott was disappointing overall for the Cowboys last season, but the 2022 campaign could feature a huge bounce-back from the running back.
If you just look at the numbers, the 2021 season for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t all that bad. He finished the year with over 1,000 yards rushing, 10 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and hauled in 47 catches for 287 yards.
Yet, there was a feeling of malcontent among fans regarding Elliott’s performance. For the contract he’s on, he didn’t produce like a superstar. Furthermore, despite the production, Elliott didn’t pass the eye test. He looked slower, looked plodding and, frankly, didn’t look healthy.
As it turns out, that’s because he wasn’t.
Elliott revealed recently that he played much of last season with a partially torn PCL. Now that he’s healthy, though, he’s turning heads in offseason workouts, hitting 22 mph while running on Tuesday. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy took full notice and seemed to be thinking that Zeke was now 100 percent and ready for big things in 2022.
Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott now healthy, primed to bounce back in 2022
The critics of Dallas for inking a running back to a six-year, $90 million contract have been numerous and the team has certainly felt the effects of it. Just this offseason, they were essentially forced to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper and make tough decisions elsewhere as well.
However, with Cooper gone, that’s going to put more pressure on Elliott to return to form. That’s certainly easier said than done for a running back with plenty of mileage on the tires at this point who will be 27 years old when Week 1 rolls around.
While that may be true, though, Elliott getting fully healthy adds some optimism. He was productive — though less so than he could’ve been otherwise — while not at 100 percent in the 2021 campaign. So with his legs fully underneath him, we could see something closer to the player who burst onto the scene as a top-five pick from the Cowboys earlier in his career.