Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott Says He Has 'A Lot to Prove' Entering 2020 NFL Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) stands on the field during an NFL football training camp in Frisco, Texas, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing twice and made three Pro Bowls during his first four seasons in the league, but he still thinks he has plenty to prove heading into his fifth year.

"I think I do have a lot to prove," Elliott said Monday, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. "I have high expectations of myself. It's not something you go enforce. You just go grind, go to work every day and let it happen."

Williams pointed out that Elliott wasn't as explosive last year as he usually is. He finished with only four runs of more than 20 yards compared to the 30 he had across his first three seasons in the league.

The Ohio State product admitted his decision to hold out through training camp prior to the 2019 campaign contributed to those totals and a slower start than he is accustomed to at the NFL level.

"I think it did take me a little bit," Elliott said. "I mean, I'm just a football player. I think I was ready. It's definitely going to be better to have the training camp this year, just to make sure I'm rolling Week 1."

It is a testament to Elliott's consistency that he still finished the 2019 campaign with 1,357 rushing yards, 420 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns. Those types of numbers would be career seasons for most running backs, but they left Elliott believing he has something to prove in 2020.

He could see more openings this year after the Cowboys selected Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the NFL draft.

That gives the Cowboys two receivers who finished with more than 1,100 yards last year in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and a potential breakout rookie in Lamb to put plenty of pressure on opposing secondaries.

It will be far more difficult to stack the box against Elliott with those playmakers on the outside, which could lead to more rushing yards for the motivated running back.