Despite a dip in production during the 2022 season, Ezekiel Elliott’s former Dallas head coach believes the 28-year-old running back has found a good place to land with the Patriots.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, who coached Elliott during his last three seasons at Dallas, believes the former franchise defenseman will fit in well with Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien’s Foxborough schedule.
“He’ll do great up there” McCarthy said of Elliott when speaking to reporters on Tuesday. “From the style of play alone, I think he suits their style of play really well…” I’m definitely not looking forward to seeing him play against us.”
Elliott’s versatility should come in handy for a Patriots team that needs more reinforcements behind Rhamondre Stevenson on the depth chart.
Not only does Elliott make Stevenson’s tough job easier, but he’s still an effective player in close-range situations. Of his 12 rushing touchdowns last season, seven came from the 1-yard line.
The former All-Pro defenseman should help push New England’s offense to No. 32 in the red zone given his ability to push through rows of defensive linemen and linebackers near the goal line.
With pass-catching running back Ty Montgomery still sidelined through injury, Elliott could also become a reliable reception threat for Mac Jones. Despite only averaging 17 catches last season, Elliott averaged 57.5 catches per season from 2018-2021.
Elliott’s reputation as one of the better pass-blocking running backs in the NFL will likely come in handy, too, given New England State’s offensive line.
McCarthy is far from the only Dallas staffer who believes Elliott can still be an influential player in New England.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said Tuesday morning that he received a text message from a Cowboys employee who also praised Elliott’s passing to the Patriots.
“New England wants to play a physical football,” Peliserro said. “You can use Zeke in both pass protection and goal-line situations. He’s the clear number 2 behind Rhamondre Stevenson but fits in well in New England.”
Former Patriots running back James White also believes Elliott’s signing makes a lot of sense given what Belichick typically values in the trenches.
“These are big, powerful, strong, fast guys and that’s what you want in a running back,” White said of Elliott and Stevenson during an interview with Sirius XM Tuesday morning. “I know Bill Belichick has talked about some of the best defensemen in the league and I know he’s a huge fan of Zeke. Whenever we played those guys, he would talk about how badly he wanted him in the squad.”
Elliott has yet to officially sign his contract with the Patriots, but the three-time Pro Bowler is expected to attend New England’s joint practice sessions with the Packers this week.
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