Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott gave an honest assessment of his NFL debut minutes after it ended, calling his performance against the New York Giants “average.”
Elliott rushed for 51 yards on 20 carries, averaging just 2.55 yards a carry. He has averaged more than 1 yard better than that in the next 11 games and is now leading the league in rushing.
“It was definitely frustrating because it was not how I imagined it,” Elliott said of his first NFL start. “But I think it definitely helped shape me into the player I am today and put a chip on my shoulder early this season to go out there and get things right.”
Elliott has certainly gotten things right and is a MVP candidate with 1,285 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He is now ready for a rematch against the Giants on Sunday night even though the opener seems “like it was forever ago.”
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“We’ve been through so much more as a team since then and we’ve grown so much, it does seem like it was a long time ago,” Elliott said. “But you’ve got to use it as a learning experience. We’re going to use it to make sure we do what we need to do this game.”
Elliott was then asked to look forward should the Cowboys clinch a bye and home-field in the coming weeks and face meaningless games at the end of the season. He danced around a question whether he’d want to keep his workload as is, or have it lightened in an effort to keep him fresh for a postseason run.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Elliott said, smiling. “I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”