Ezekiel Elliott listened patiently as a reporter told him what Giants safety Landon Collins said earlier Wednesday about the Cowboys offense.
“Put the ball into Dak’s hands, and I think we have a better shot at winning,” Collins said of the Cowboys’ quarterback, Dak Prescott.
It was not inflammatory, and Collins was not giving away a state secret.
Elliott led the league in rushing in 2016 and has provided 33 percent of the team’s yards in his 26 games since the Cowboys drafted him in the first round. Prescott has passed for fewer than 200 yards in seven of his past nine games.
So Elliott greeted the question with a shrug.
“I mean, I feel like that’s how every defense is going to play us,” Elliott said Wednesday. “I mean, we have a lot of playmakers on our side. Dak’s a playmaker himself. So just like I said, it comes down to what we do. If we go out there and execute, we stay on schedule, we will be just fine.”
Elliott’s 69 rushing yards against Carolina were the third-fewest in his 26 games. His two lowest came in the first game of his rookie season (20 carries for 51 yards against the Giants) and in the second game of last season (nine carries for 8 yards against the Broncos).
Elliott, who had no preseason snaps, was asked why he has seemed to get off to a slow start with one below-average game early in each of his three seasons.
“It does kind of seem like it’s been that way,” he said. “I mean, we’ve just got to get our rhythm. We’ve just got to execute. Our game plans are meant for us to be on schedule. We like to run the ball. It’s tough to run the ball when you’re second-and-17. That kind of takes the run out of the game. Now you’ve got to get back on track, and then you’ve got to convert a third down. As long as we stay on schedule, we should be good.”