Ezekiel Elliott’s former Cowboys coach believes he’ll be a ‘good fit’ for Patriots


Not looking forward to watching him run against us, that’s for sure.”

Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball in the fourth quarter a game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
Ezekiel Elliott still managed to score 12 touchdowns in a down season in 2022. Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Despite a dip in production during the 2022 season, Ezekiel Elliott’s former head coach in Dallas believes the 28-year-old running back has found a good landing spot with the Patriots.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, who oversaw Elliott during his final three seasons in Dallas, thinks that the former franchise back will slot in well with Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien’s gameplan in Foxborough.

“He’ll do great up there,” McCarthy said of Elliott while speaking with reporters on Tuesday. “Play-style alone, I think he’s a really good fit for how they like to play … “Not looking forward to watching him run against us, that’s for sure.”

Elliott’s versatility should come in handy for a Patriots team in need of more reinforcements behind Rhamondre Stevenson on the depth chart.

Along with easing Stevenson’s heavy workload, Elliott is still an effective player during short-yardage situations. Of his 12 rushing touchdowns last season, seven came from the 1-yard line.

The former All-Pro back should help lift New England’s 32nd-ranked red-zone offense thanks to his knack for barreling through bodies of defensive linemen and linebackers near the goal line.

With pass-catching running back Ty Montgomery still sidelined due to injury, Elliott could also develop into a reliable receiving threat for Mac Jones. Despite reeling in just 17 catches last season, Elliott averaged 57.5 catches per season from 2018-21.

Elliott’s reputation as one of the better pass-blocking running backs in the NFL will also likely come in handy given the state of New England’s offensive line.

McCarthy is far from the only staff member in Dallas who believes Elliott can still be an impact player in New England.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said on Tuesday morning that he received a text from a Cowboys staff member who also spoke highly of Elliott’s fit with the Patriots.

“New England wants to play a physical brand of football,” Peliserro said. “They can use Zeke in pass protection as well as in goal-line situations. He’s the clear No. 2 behind Rhamondre Stevenson, but a good fit in New England.”

Former Patriots running back James White also believes that Elliott’s addition makes plenty of sense for what Belichick usually values in the trenches.

“Those 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 on Tuesday morning. “I know Bill Belichick has talked about some of the best backs in the league and I know he’s a big fan of Zeke. Whenever we would compete against those guys, he would talk about how much he wanted to have him on the roster.”

Elliott has not officially signed his contract with the Patriots, but the expectation is that the three-time Pro Bowler will participate in New England’s joint practices with the Packers this week. 

Originally posted 2023-08-16 00:06:04.