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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott 'all for' heavy workload

The Dallas Cowboys expect to feed Ezekiel Elliott plenty in 2018 as they sort out the reworked passing game.

"I'm all for it, you know what I mean?" Elliott said Thursday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "A lot is asked from the running back for the Dallas Cowboys, a lot has been asked for me the past two seasons, and I think I've had some great strides this offseason getting ready to carry that workload this season."

Through his first two seasons, Elliott has already been the workhorse. It's debatable whether it is even responsible in the long term to up his workload much more. In 10 games in 2017, Elliott averaged 24.2 carries per game. For comparison, the top two running backs, Le'Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy, earned 21.4 and 17.9 totes per tussle, respectively. During his rookie campaign, Elliott led the NFL with 322 carries in 15 regular-season tilts, 21.5 per game.

Perhaps the Cowboys leaned on Elliott more last season anticipating his six-game suspension. Had Elliott played a full 16-game slate in 2017, he was on pace to carry the rock 387 times. The last running back to earn more than 330 carries in one season was DeMarco Murray's 392 with Dallas in 2014 -- it took a year for Murray's legs to recover from that workload.

With the Cowboys receiver corps in flux, Dallas anticipates leaning on Zeke heavily, at least to open the season. For a tailback who has notoriously been out of shape early in training camps, hitting the ground running is key. RBs coach Gary Brown relayed what they told Elliott heading into training camp.

"Come in and be in the best shape of your life," Brown said. "Be ready to get a lot of carries early. It is going to be a situation where defenses are going to try to stop us. They are going to try their best, but they are not going to be able to."

Elliott has proven he can plow through stacked boxes rep after rep after rep. As the most stable element in an influx offense, the Cowboys need Zeke to eat plentifully in 2018.

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