When future Hall of Fame defensive back Charles Woodson watches Ezekiel Elliott this season, he doesn’t see the same player.
Woodson thinks the Dallas Cowboys running back has faltered a little in his sophomore campaign.
“He doesn’t seem like the same player to me as he did last year coming out of school. When you come out of college, you’re hungry and you’re ready to step up to the challenge,” Woodson said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. “This year, it seems like he kind of took things for granted a little bit. He doesn’t seem to have the explosiveness as he did in the previous season.”
The source of Elliott’s slight decline is his off-field transgressions. It’s almost impossible for Elliott’s ongoing court battle to not affect him. The Cowboys running back reportedly showed up to training camp heavier this year and, like Woodson said, looks a step slow. He doesn’t have the burst that we saw last season. The second-year runner is averaging more than a yard less per carry this season.
Granted, Elliott is still top 10 in the NFL in rushing. His regression isn’t steep.
Some of the blame also should go to the Cowboys offensive line, a unit that has slipped this season. The combination of the O-line and Elliott’s off-field distractions have contributed to a slight slippage in production.