Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys will learn from season-opening running woes

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott averaged 2.6 yards per carry against the New York Giants.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott averaged 2.6 yards per carry against the New York Giants. rmallison@star-telegram.com

That veteran running back Alfred Morris seemingly had more success on the ground in the Dallas Cowboys’ 20-19 season opening loss to the New York Giants than rookie fourth-round pick Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t lost on coach Jason Garrett.

Morris rushed seven times for 35 yards in limited opportunities, while Elliott had 51 yards on 20 carries.

Morris had more holes when he out there, but also he ran more decisively than the rookie.

“I thought Alfred Morris did a good job when he had some opportunities,” Garrett said. “He had some more creases than Zeke did, but he took advantage of his chances as well. He stuck it up in there and made some hard runs, but he did have some openings where he had demonstrated good patience, put his foot in the round and went north and south.”

Elliott was also challenged by a defense bent on stopping the run and a rookie quarterback in Dak Prescott.

They stacked the line and the Cowboys didn’t create enough movement for Elliott to run.

Garrett said it was good learning experience for Elliott about life in the NFL.

“They played a lot of single high defense in some of those run situations where they had an extra guy down,” Garrett said. “They did a good job with some pressures from the secondary to disrupt the running game. We didn’t create enough movement on a consistent basis at the point of attack, on the back side on some of those carries and I think Zeke did a good job running hard when the runs were dirty to stick it on up in there and get what he could get. He did have a couple runs that broke outside a little bit that were positive play for us and for him.

“But the NFL is hard. It’s hard to run the ball in the NFL. I think it was a good experience for him to feel that, to feel the challenge of being a productive runner down in and down out in the National Football League.”

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