Ezekiel Elliott made the rounds on Twitter this week when the All-Pro running back wanted respect for all he's accomplished in his first four NFL seasons. While Elliott is one of the top three running backs in football, that still isn't enough for the high standards he's set for himself.
Even with Elliott's greatness, the Cowboys running back still faces criticism. The Dallas Cowboys finishing 8-8 and failing to win the NFC East with the NFL's top-ranked offense in 2019 carries a lot of weight.
Former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte was Elliott's head coach at John Burroughs School in St. Louis, and developed a close relationship with the star running back. Elliott feeds off the criticism that comes his way, but Frerotte thinks he needs to do better in order to silence his haters.
"He's with the Cowboys organization, he's proved that he's an elite running back, and I think that they haven't gone deep into the playoffs and won those games they need to win," Frerotte said to JR Sport Brief on CBS Sports Radio Thursday. "Until they do that, you're always going to have that type of criticism.
"I feel like Zeke can break through. They need leadership from him and Dak. They're going to have a new coach in Mike McCarthy, and I think Mike is going to try to solidify some of that stuff."
Eliiott's comments on Twitter generated a lot of responses after he couldn't understand why the media "has to talk down on my game just to uplift other backs."
Check the stats. Since I entered this league I have dominated year in, year out. Put some RESPECT on my name.— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) July 16, 2020
Women lie. Men lie. The stats don’t. Go do your homework.— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) July 16, 2020
The Cowboys have won just one playoff game since Elliott was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in 2016, but he keeps putting up excellent numbers. Elliott has deserved the six-year, $90 million extension he signed in 2019, leading the NFL in rushing attempts (1,169), rushing yards (5,405) and yards from scrimmage (7,404) since the start of the 2016 season (his rookie year). He's also second in rushing touchdowns with 40 during that stretch.
Dallas is 36-20 in the 56 games Elliott has started, even though the Cowboys are just 1-2 in the postseason since his arrival. That's not the fault of Elliott, who has two 100-yard rushing performances in three postseason games (309 rushing yards and two touchdowns).
Elliott has done all he can, but until Dallas reaches the potential of the talent level on its team, the star running back will be criticized -- especially playing for a franchise that hasn't hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 25 seasons.
All Elliott can do is play football at a high level and take on a leadership role. Staying off social media would be a good start.