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Why Ezekiel Elliott isn’t playing in Cowboys’ Week 10 game vs. Packers, leaving Tony Pollard to carry load

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For the second game in a row, the Cowboys will be without star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is continuing to heal from a knee injury suffered Week 7 against the Lions.

Elliott missed the Cowboys’ Week 8 game against the Bears and Dallas had a bye last week, so missing Sunday’s game against the Packers will make three weeks for the Cowboys without their No. 1 back. Elliott was limited in practice throughout the week, casting doubt on his status.

Tony Pollard will get the lion’s share of touches in Elliott’s stead. Pollard had 131 yards on 14 touchdowns against the Bears alongside three touchdowns. It was his second 100-plus yard game on the season.

Elliott has 443 yards on 109 carries this season, with four touchdowns to show for it.

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The Cowboys are middle-of-the-road in the running game this year, ranking 16th with 1,052 yards heading into Sunday.

Elliott is in the second season of a six-year, $90 million contract with the Cowboys.

Cowboys RB depth chart

The Cowboys have four running backs on their depth chart, including Elliott. After him, Pollard is the obvious No. 1, followed by undrafted free agent Malik Davis and Qadree Ollison.

Depth Chart Spot Player
1 Ezekiel Elliott
2 Tony Pollard
3 Malik Davis
4 Qadree Ollison

Pollard’s impressiveness has prompted questions about the starting role in Dallas upon Elliott’s full recovery, but Jerry Jones quickly shot those rumors down.

“There’s no argument,” Jones said after the Bears game, via “Zeke’s ability to punish, Zeke’s ability to deliver, Zeke’s ability, what he does for us in pass protection, and, frankly, Zeke’s ability to make big plays are there, and we’re going to go as Zeke goes. I really mean he’s that integral to our success this year.”

In other words, Elliott not playing against the Packers isn’t a soft benching, per Jones. Rather, they’re being thorough in his recovery timeline. 


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