Cow­boys’ El­liott ready for more af­ter lighter work vs Gi­ants

The Saline Courier Weekend - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon As­so­ci­ated Press

FRISCO, Texas — Ezekiel El­liott is used to twice the load he car­ried in the opener for the Dal­las Cow­boys af­ter the star run­ning back missed the en­tire pre­sea­son in a holdout.

The two-time rush­ing cham­pion says he never had a mo­ment in the 35-17 win over the New York Gi­ants where he felt he wasn’t quite ready for game speed, and El­liott isn’t the type to say he would pre­fer an­other in­cre­men­tal step to a full work­load at Wash­ing­ton (0-1) on Sun­day.

“I think I’m ready now for a nor­mal work­load,” El­liott said Wed­nes­day. “It just de­pends on how ... (the coaches) are feel­ing on Sun­day. But if they ask, I’ll be able to go out there and do it.”

There were a few mo­ments against the Gi­ants when El­liott didn’t look quite like him­self, in­clud­ing in the third quar­ter on a 2-yard run when there ap­peared to be room for more. Not long af­ter, though, El­liott had a seam on the left side and took his fi­nal carry 10 yards for a touch­down.

El­liott, who av­er­aged 25 touches per game dur­ing his first three sea­sons, had 13 car­ries for 53 yards and one catch for 10 against New York while play­ing

54% of the snaps (37 of 68).

His first prac­tice was four days be­fore the game, the same day he signed a $90 mil­lion, six-year con­tract ex­ten­sion that could keep him in Dal­las through 2026. Coach Ja­son Gar­rett said his snap count was al­most 30 at half­time, and the Cow­boys (1-0) didn’t want to go much be­yond that.

“I thought he did a re­ally good job in the game,” coach Ja­son Gar­rett said. “There’s no ques­tion he kept him­self in re­ally good shape. His weight was good. And for the time that he missed, I thought he han­dled the work re­ally well.”

It’s not the first time El­liott has started the sea­son with­out play­ing a snap in the pre­sea­son — he did that last year. And it’s not the first time he has faced a quick turn­around to a game af­ter work­ing out on his own in Mex­ico — he did that two years ago dur­ing a six-game sus­pen­sion.

But it was the first time

El­liott had played with­out any prac­tice in train­ing camp.

“It was a lit­tle weird jump­ing right into things, not hav­ing camp and hav­ing to ad­just,” he said.

The Cow­boys had the lux­ury of sit­ting El­liott the en­tire fourth quar­ter be­cause his TD gave Dal­las a 35-10 lead late in the third. Rookie Tony Pol­lard had just 13 yards on nine car­ries in the fourth and fin­ished with 24 yards on 13 rushes.

“I think I could have been in there a lit­tle bit more,” said El­liott, whose 14 touches were just one more than his ca­reer low. “But we had a cer­tain plan and we’re go­ing to keep tak­ing steps to­ward it.”

Gar­rett prob­a­bly won’t of­fer much in­sight into that plan be­fore the Cow­boys play the Red­skins.

“We’ll just see how he prac­tices, see how he comes out of the game,” Gar­rett said the day af­ter the New York game.

El­liott said his sore­ness was “tol­er­a­ble,” and that the process to get him­self in game shape con­tin­ues.

“Just get­ting as many full speed foot­ball looks as you can,” El­liott said. “It’s kinda hard to sim­u­late in prac­tice, but I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing I can on my end to put my­self in those foot­ball si­t­u­a­tions and get used to them.”

NOTES: WR Tavon Austin missed prac­tice Wed­nes­day be­cause of con­cus­sion symp­toms . ... DE Ty­rone Craw­ford also was out as he man­ages a hip is­sue from the off­sea­son. Craw­ford played 43% of the snaps against the Gi­ants.

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