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Mailbag: Has Zeke's Blocking Been Undervalued?


I see numerous questions and comments about Zeke's declining value to the team. To me, his ability as a blocker is way undervalued. I don't think Dak makes it through the season with the offensive line problems without him. Do you agree, and why is that not of paramount value to the team? – Steve Neece / Bartlesville, OK

Kyle: That's where his value was at its highest in 2021, no doubt. But the frustration comes from him getting paid more than any other running back in the NFL and an average of $15 million each year. Numbers that are far too high for a blocking-first tailback in the NFL. Elliott wasn't a complete disappointment last season and parts of his struggles came from the fact that he wasn't healthy for most of the season. But instead of narrowly eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark and lacking true explosion in his run-style, he needs to be at the top of the league rankings in multiple categories again this season. Along with being a great blocker and protecting his quarterback on passing plays.

Nick: I've always thought the blocking is something that is very underrated. And really, it's one of the big reasons that Zeke gets more carries, mainly because he's on the field more. If Pollard was only the field when it was time to run and Zeke was on the field when he had to block, of course, defenses would key into that by the middle of the first quarter. So it's all about flexibility. And I get it, Pollard is fun to watch in the open field, but the dirty work is where Zeke shines the most. He helps keep the pocket rather clean for Dak and keeps them two-dimensional. I still think Kellen Moore has to figure out how to get both players the ball more, but yes, Zeke will be on the field more because of all the things he does – and blocking is included.

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