Zeke Not Worried About Heavy Workload


FRISCO, Texas – Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

In this case, that will happen when you ask a professional running back if he's feeling sore heading into the second month of the season.

"There's no time in an NFL, or any football season, that you're not sore," said Ezekiel Elliott with a laugh on Wednesday.

To be fair, Elliott didn't quite like an indestructible self last Sunday. He took several breathers during his 240-yard performance against the Lions, as he was dealing with ankle and knee injuries by the end of the game.

It was even uncustomary to see Elliott listed with a knee injury on Wednesday's first practice report of Week 5. Despite all of that, the 23-year-old was insistent that he's feeling good and he has youth on his side.

"I was banged up, but it's football. That's what it is," Elliott said. "I'm young, I've got fresh legs, and I'm going to get the ball as much as I can."

That's welcome news for the Cowboys. Sunday's 26-24 win against Detroit saw Elliott touch the ball 29 times, which is easily one of the biggest tallies of his career. He has only touched the ball more on five occasions.

For him to come out of it feeling no worse for wear has to be encouraging, especially for an offense that has struggled at times to get its other components going. And, for whatever hand-wringing is happening elsewhere about Elliott's workload, the Cowboys don't seem overly concerned.

"I think that answer would be that I do want that kind of workload for him," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Tuesday. "He's healthy. He's very physical. You take more when you're contesting Zeke than when you give out. In other words, he wins most of those physical confrontations, and that takes its toll on the defense."

Hopefully for the Cowboys, Elliott can prove that theory to be true. The Houston Texans will likely present a stiffer challenge than the Lions, as their run defense ranks No. 9 in the NFL – as opposed to Detroit's dead-last ranking. The Texans are also surrendering just 3.5 yards per carry, which is fourth-best in the league, and have allowed just one rushing touchdown.

"It starts up front with their defensive line, and they have some special guys over there," Elliott said. "We've just got to go out there, play our football and execute."

It's not a new challenge for him. The Cowboys have tested themselves against some of the game's best defenses throughout Elliott's time in the league – sometimes more successfully than others.

The going had been slow up to this point in the season, but Elliott is hopeful this is the start of a trend. For that to hold true, though, they'll have to show something that has eluded them to this point: consistency.

"Everything that we accomplished last Sunday, last week, it really means nothing if we don't come out and continue to build on it and get better next week," he said. "We've got to look at what we did last Sunday and fix what we did wrong, praise ourselves for what we did well – but we can't be content with that. We've got to do that week in, week out if we want to be a good team in this league."