Could Elliott have given more effort on an interception by the Denver Broncos? Sure. Is it worth blasting him for quitting? No.
Elliott was running one way when the Broncos picked off Dak Prescott and took it back the other way. Elliott didn’t placate enough people by turning and putting on a show by running after the play, so that became a topic of conversation. It really got going when all-time great LaDainian Tomlinson, on NFL Network, said about Elliott: “I didn’t like the way he quit today.”
“So on a couple of plays, first his attitude on the sideline,” Tomlinson said, via NFL.com. “Clearly, he didn’t have any type of communication with his teammates. There was no eating today. But also he didn’t want to talk to his teammates. Sometimes when things are going wrong as a leader of the team, as a captain, you gotta step up and rally the troops. You gotta go to the offensive line and say ‘Hey man, I know it’s tough but let’s keep battling, let’s keep fighting.’ You gotta go to the quarterback and say ‘Hey man, I’m not getting it done today. You gotta step it up.’ You gotta rally the troops.”
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Tomlinson was a fantastic player, a thoughtful guy and a good analyst on NFL Network, but this is a bit much. At some point, when a team is getting blown out by an opponent as Dallas was, it’s tough to draw sweeping inferences based on body language. It shouldn’t be too surprising Elliott wasn’t bouncing around on the sideline while he was gaining 8-yards rushing in a 25-point loss.
But the interception is what really caused the outrage. Are we really supposed to believe Elliott, who carried or caught the ball for the Cowboys 354 times last season and was Dallas’ best player as a rookie, all of a sudden isn’t giving his all? Can we get through anything without over-the-top outrage?
“Obviously, you want guys to pursue the ball and get the guy on the ground,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, according to 105.3 in Dallas. “Those things happen sometimes and we’ll coach our guys to play the right way.
“On those takeaways, it’s really, really important that everybody gets there and everybody somehow, someway does everything they can to get the guy on the ground. We’ll address that with everybody on our team.”
That’s a rational response from the coach. Does Garrett want to see Elliott stopping on a play when the opponent intercepts it? No (though, let’s also point out that Terrell Davis’ run as a great player ended when he blew out his knee trying to make a tackle on an interception). Garrett and presumably Elliott’s position coach will let him know he still needs to pursue the play, just in case. It’s not an indictment of Elliott as a football player. It’s not even a big deal.
But what would an NFL week be without some drama surrounding the Cowboys?
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