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Mailbag: Why So Much Criticism Of Zeke?


Why are folks are so hard to come down on Zeke with the nature of the QB, OL, & Offensive Coordinator, & he runs better pass routes than most RB's, blocks better the most OL, & why does Zeke catch so much grief besides that his contract is above most RB's? — LONNIE BARKSDALE / WALDORF, MD

David: I think you just answered your own question. It's the nature of the business that the guys with the biggest salaries attract the most attention and the most criticism, especially if things aren't going well. Zeke has the largest contract value and the highest salary of any running back in the league. I agree with you that he'll bounce back just fine when he gets his quarterback and his offensive line back next year, but it's still understandable why people expect to see more.

Jonny: I suppose it's fair to direct that criticism at the front office instead of Zeke, who is by no means a bad or even average football player. I agree all those factors can account for his lack of production this season. The problem is that he is being paid a lot of the salary cap to fail to compensate for those things. I think what we're learning is that a great running back is a luxury, not a foundation.

When watching Tony Pollard run yesterday it just seems like he has that breakaway speed that we have not seem from Ezekiel this year. When I see Zeke running he just doesn't show that burst of speed. What are your thoughts on this? — TERRY DUBS

David: It's been a talking point for several years, and at this point it's pretty hard to deny. Zeke has been banged up this season, but we just haven't seen those types of explosive plays very often. His play style is still plenty valuable, but that's definitely an area you'd like to see some improvement next season.

Jonny: I think that's fair. Pollard is literally a faster person than Zeke, who can combine power with his still-pretty-impressive quickness. I think some minor injuries have sort of put a hamper on some of Zeke's running style. You just hope that doesn't continue to be the case as he stacks seasons on top of each other


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