FRISCO, Texas – If the Cowboys planned to change anything about Ezekiel Elliott's 2016 role in the offense, the 2017 season opener didn't show it.
Elliott played 60 of the Cowboys' 74 offensive snaps against the Giants. He touched the ball 29 times (24 runs for 104 yards; five catches for 36 yards).
He knows when he's on the field, he's a major part of the offense's identity.
"I think it's pretty clear and evident the type of football we play," he said Wednesday. "I don't think anything's going to change. I think it was the same for all 16 games last year. I think it's going to be the same going forward. And I'm prepared for it."
The subject of Elliott's on-field availability has dominated headlines since the NFL suspended him six games on Aug. 11 for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Last week, a Texas judge granted a preliminary injunction that blocks the suspension, and although the league has since appealed the ruling, Elliott is currently eligible to practice and play while the case moves through the court system.
The second-year running back declined comment Wednesday when asked about his legal matters. He's focused on the field, and he looked much more comfortable in last Sunday's opener than he did in his NFL debut against the Giants last September, when he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry.
This year, the reigning NFL rushing leader had a full plate of training camp practices. Last year he spent most of preseason resting a hamstring injury.
"I came out a little shaky, a little uneasy, not really comfortable in the offense (last year)," he said. "But now I'm comfortable and just ready to keep stacking good weeks on good weeks and getting better week by week."
This Sunday's opponent, the Denver Broncos, held the L.A. Chargers to 64 rushing yards (2.9 per attempt) in a 24-21 victory. Elliott says it's no secret teams will load up to stop the Cowboys' running game each week.
It's his job to keep it moving.
"It's going to be you versus us. You've just got to stop us," he said. "You've got to be better than us and that's how we play week in and week out and teams know that. That's our mindset going into every week and I expect every week to be like that."