Is Zeke Elliott slower this year?

We break down the claim that Zeke Elliott has lost a half-step this year, speed-wise. It's not completely disprovable -- but it's dubious. Watch to see why.

Things weren't great for Dallas Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott on Monday -- but they were better.

"As the game wore on, he kept battling," head coach Jason Garrett said. "Our ability to run the ball late in that ballgame was the biggest difference in the ballgame."

22 carries, for 80 yards -- including a big 30-yard gain in the second quarter.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said that run "kinda put air back in the balloon for us."

But that's also a play that has been analyzed heavily -- because some believe Elliott should've scored.

When asked if he could've stayed vertical on that run, and tried to beat the safety, Zeke said "I don't think I could've. I think I would've gained more yards the way I ran it."

The argument some have made is that Elliott should have run north-and-south, and used his speed to beat Tyvon Branch, and score.  Here's the problem -- Branch runs a lightning fast 4.26 40-yard dash...

Compare that play -- like many are -- to Zeke's run against the Bengals last year.

For one, against Cincy, Zeke wasn't touched. Against the Cardinals, Tyrann Mathieu slowed him down with a failed arm tackle.

And secondly, the Bengals defensive backs are much farther from Zeke on that play, and also slower than Branch -- Shawn Williams runs a 4.42 40, while George Iloka runs a 4.6.

Now, last year, Elliott hit a top speed of 21.5 miles per hour. This year, he hasn't cracked 18 mph. But there's a big reason why -- he hasn't had nearly the creases he did last year, just yet.  But still, the argument has been made that Zeke is slower this year.

I asked him Thursday, "to the people that are saying that, what's your response to that?"

His answer?  "Shut up." 

Fair enough. So you don't think you're slower? 

"No."

"Oh, I don't think so," Linehan said. "I think he's just getting a feel for how that guys playing him.  That guy was getting in a hurry, to get on top of him."

Maybe this week, Elliott will truly break free, and then we can have a more apples-to-apples comparison.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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