Sport: Ezekiel Elliott to remain the 'focal point' of Cowboys' offense?

Las Vegas Raiders offense: Better or worse than 2016?

  Las Vegas Raiders offense: Better or worse than 2016? The Raiders were all business just six years ago. Led by current QB Derek Carr, the team had a record of 12-4 and posted a top-10 offense.Jack Del-Rio manned the roster in '16, but Greg Olsen relayed play calls to Carr. The coordinator-QB tandem proved electric, as the Raiders finished seventh in points scored and sixth in yards per game. Eliteness on this side of the ball was necessary for survival, as the Raiders produced a bottom 10 defense ranking 26th in yards per game and 20th in points allowed.

After their respective performances last season, many have envisioned a change in workload for Cowboys running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard going forward. While the latter could be in line for a more varied usage in 2022, the former is still viewed as being central to the team’s success.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Owner Jerry Jones doubled down on Dallas’ reliance on Elliott Saturday, saying that he “has to be the focus” of the Cowboys’ run game via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The 27-year-old has been a full-time starter since his rookie season, though he logged the lowest snap share of his career (66%) last season. Slowed for the latter stages of the campaign in particular by a knee injury, the former top-five pick still recorded 1,000 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns.

49ers' Kyle Juszczyk: 'Not too much of a shocker' Trey Lance replaced Jimmy Garoppolo

  49ers' Kyle Juszczyk: 'Not too much of a shocker' Trey Lance replaced Jimmy Garoppolo Kyle Juszczyk spoke with media members on Tuesday and indicated those in the locker room knew Trey Lance was the offense's new CEO some time ago.Lance served as the team's QB1 throughout spring workouts and mandatory minicamp as Garoppolo recovered from March shoulder surgery. Last month, San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk told reporters he could "only say positive things" about the 22-year-old signal-caller who had become "a very natural leader" in Garoppolo's absence. As Rohan Chakravarthi noted for 49ers WebZone, Juszczyk spoke with media members on Tuesday and indicated those in the locker room knew Lance was the offense's new CEO some time ago.

His efficiency (4.2 yards per carry) compared to Pollard (5.5), however, led to questions about which back deserved more opportunities – which continues in the build-up to this season, one in which Elliott is expected to be healthier. Jones insists that he “has to be the focal point” of the offense, as he has been in years past, including the three-year stretch to begin his career in which he led the league in rushing yards per game.

In the absence of Amari Cooper and, at least early on in the season, Michael Gallup, Dallas’ passing game figures to look much different in 2022 and faces the possibility of being less productive than last season. Especially in that event, a return to form from Elliott would be sorely needed. From a financial perspective, it would also ease concerns about his future; Elliott has five years remaining on his current deal, but no guaranteed money is included after this season.

Ezekiel Elliott's comments on contract play right into Cowboys hands

  Ezekiel Elliott's comments on contract play right into Cowboys hands Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott says he is not focused on his contract situation after the upcoming season. The Dallas Cowboys had to make some moves to free up cap space entering the 2022 league year. That meant the team had to move on from the likes of wide receiver Amari Cooper and offensive tackle La'el Collins. One player they could not move on from in 2022 was running back Ezekiel Elliott, due to his contract being terminated or traded would cost the Cowboys money. But, there is an exit for Dallas from Elliott's contract after this season. In regards to his future, Elliott said he is not focused on his contract situation.

On the other hand, Pollard is entering the final year of his rookie contract and could play his way into a sizeable free agent deal with another career-year. As Jones added, “there is room for Pollard while Zeke is in there,” but if he has his way, the much-maligned veteran will still shoulder a heavy load as the Cowboys look to make another postseason run.

Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸

More must-reads:

  • Cowboys WR Michael Gallup says he won't be ready for Week 1: 'We got a little ways to go'
  • Report: Cowboys meeting with former first-round pick Takkarist McKinley
  • The 'Most career receiving yards for every NFL franchise' quiz

Related slideshow: The best seasons by a skill-position player for every NFL team (Provided by Yardbarker)

NFL futures, odds: Dallas Cowboys still projected to be cream of the crop in NFC East

  NFL futures, odds: Dallas Cowboys still projected to be cream of the crop in NFC East NFL futures, odds: Dallas Cowboys still projected to be cream of the crop in NFC EastDallas was the betting favorites to defeat San Francisco, but they failed to get it done. San Francisco came out to a 23-7 lead before ten fourth quarter points from the Cowboys made the game look closer than it really was. Dallas even had a chance late, before the infamous Dak Prescott rush up the middle to run out the clock.

Packers activate Elgton Jenkins, Robert Tonyan, Christian Watson from PUP list .
Teams have until August 23 to activate players in this situation, so the timing of the move is highly encouraging with respect to their regular season availability. Beginning the campaign on the reserve/PUP list was considered a likely outcome in Jenkins’ case last week. That would have dealt a major blow to the Packers’ o-line (requiring him to be sidelined for at least the first four games of the season), especially given the uncertainty surrounding All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Instead, Jenkins’ activation represents a positive sign in his recovery from the ACL tear he suffered last November.

See also