NBC Thursday Night Football sideline reporter Heather Cox has seen this play out before. Cox covered several games – six or eight, she estimates – of Ezekiel Elliott’s in college.
Cox, who has seen two Cowboys games in person this season, sees the same runner she saw at Ohio State, only more patient.
“You can see the difference in the way Zeke runs this year as opposed to last year,” Cox said in a phone interview. “I think this year he’s so much more patient. He’s kind of waiting and trusting that those holes will open and not beating his teammates to it. I think that patience as a runner has helped him find the gaps. He’s getting the system. He’s really taking advantage of it and trusting it and taking everything that the O-line is giving him.”
Elliott, the fourth overall pick, leads the league with 1,199 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He rushed for 3,961 yards and 43 touchdowns in his three-year career at Ohio State.
“It’s just sort of one of those perfect-timing, perfect-storm opportunities for Zeke,” Cox said. “The fact that he has taken full advantage of it is huge. He’s the first one to credit that O-line. That O-line is phenomenal.”
Cox, who covered one of Dak Prescott’s college games, was asked who she would choose for MVP. Elliott or Prescott?
“You know what? If he keeps going the way he’s been going, I say it’s between Zeke and Dak,” Cox said. “Honestly, the two of them or the O-line. If things continue as they are, I think the Dallas Cowboys deserve the MVP award and whether it goes to Dak or Zeke, or how good would it be if it could go to a position group, but I think it belongs in Dallas.”