Two plays are not indicative of whether a player cares about a game, but Ezekiel Elliott not giving effort on two turnovers disappointed Jason Garrett.
During a frustrating 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, the second-year running back didn’t chase down either of Chris Harris Jr. or Aqib Talib after they intercepted a Dak Prescott pass.
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Garrett said the Cowboys preach that all offensive players need to be involved after a turnover. He called Elliott “one of the most natural competitors that I’ve ever been around,” so the unexpected lack of effort could’ve been the product of frustration.
“Obviously, he had been very productive as a running back over the course of his career and certainly in the NFL up to this point. And he had a game where he carried the ball nine times for eight yards, so there’s no question frustration could have set in.”
Elliott, who paced the NFL with 1,631 yards and also scored 15 touchdowns as a rookie, had previously never handled fewer than 12 carries in a game. Additionally, the Ohio State product’s lowest yardage output was 51, while his second-lowest mark was 80.
Week 2 was, by far, the most challenging day of his young career.
Garrett will address the concern with Elliott, and odds are it won’t happen again. Besides, the Broncos aren’t on the schedule again. That might be the only defense capable of holding Elliott to such a dismal stat line.
The lack of effort was a disappointing development, but when Elliott runs for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the near future, the two times he didn’t chase down a defender will be forgotten.