'Change Is Good': Is Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Taking a Shot at Coach Garrett?

Mike Fisher

There is no indication that Ezekiel Elliott was ever in conflict with ousted head coach Jason Garrett. So the star running back's comments about the post-Garrett need to be accepted along with the proper framework.

Is Zeke optimistic about the coming Mike McCarthy era? Surely. Is he taking shots at the Garrett era? Not really.

"I think it will be weird, something that I'm not used to," Elliott said, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. "But change is hard, but sometimes good. Sometimes you need change.''

That's a sharp evaluation of the facts of this coach, and maybe any coach, spending a decade in one spot. ... but it's not a sharp poke at the coach himself. Indeed, McCarthy spent 13 seasons with the Packers, winning a Super Bowl along the way, before being fired with three games remaining in the 2018 season - mostly because Green Bay realized "sometimes you need change.''

Maybe Garrett's message grew stale, but that's a result of tenure more than conflict. Indeed, Elliott, maybe as much as any of Garrett's Cowboys, has ever reason to look back fondly on his time here. Zeke won two rushing titles here and even in the failed 2019 season in which Dallas finished 8-8, the Cowboys led the NFL in yards gained. It's also noteworthy that Garrett, like the rest of the organization, stood by Elliott during the running back's suspension season.

In the end, the Garrett/Elliott Cowboys didn't accomplish enough. But they weren't exactly "hard times,'' and when it comes to Elliott and Garrett, there aren't exactly "hard feelings,'' either, as evidenced when Zeke noted that RedBall has moved on to become the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, who play Dallas twice a year.

"Now,'' Zeke joked, "I get to beat on him.''