Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has become a lightning rod for criticism after a perceived (actual) lack of effort following a pair of interceptions on Sunday. Owner Jerry Jones has opted not to join in the criticism, at least not specifically.
The most glaring incident happened when Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. caught a tipped ball and took it the other way. Elliott, who had lined up in the slot and wasn’t far from Harris, pulled up, put his hands on his hips, and walked off the field.
Appearing Tuesday on 105.3 the Fan in Dallas, Jones was asked about the criticism of Elliott.
“I think if you look at everybody’s reaction to that interception . . . certainly on that interception, if you really look at several Dallas Cowboys players on that interception you saw what would not be the case in a closely-contested ball game,” Jones said. “I think you can point to Zeke but you really have to look at the general effort to chase that ball down by most of the people that were on the field. Dak [Prescott] now, of course, gave it everything he had to try to contain that interception but still you look at it across the board and you’ll see that you need more effort than what you see.”
Jones said that some of the examples of past post-possession hustle from Cowboys players that were shown on Monday local TV will be shown to the players, and he explained that the wind had already come out of the team before the interception. So it’s clear that he doesn’t like what happened, but it’s also clear that he won’t be singling out Elliott for criticism.
To the extent that others can be chastised for minor lollygagging, the truth is that others did indeed pursue and tackle Harris. Elliott didn’t even try to bring Harris down or, even better, to rip the ball out from behind. It was a bad look for a guy who possibly thinks that a separate set of rules applies to him, possibly because that’s exactly what’s going on.