Don’t expect Dak Prescott to run more with Ezekiel Elliott out

Updated: August 16, 2017

8:00 AM ET

OXNARD, California — Quick, who was the Dallas Cowboys’ second-leading rusher last season?

Don’t use Google. Just make a guess.

It was Dak Prescott.

He had 282 yards on 57 carries.

The last time a Cowboys quarterback finished second on the team in rushing came in 1989 when Troy Aikman had 302 yards on 38 carries. The same Aikman who became a Hall of Famer and never had more than 125 yards rushing in a season after his rookie year.

“What’s underappreciated about Troy Aikman is how great of an athlete he was,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. He could move around and his drops were as good as any drops in the history of the NFL. If there was ever a chance to run, he ran. Big, strong, athletic guy. So it doesn’t surprise me one bit.”

Among quarterbacks, Prescott’s 282 yards ranked eighth in the NFL last season. Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor had the most with 580 yards on 95 carries. Colin Kaepernick was second with 468 yards on 69 carries running Chip Kelly’s offense for the San Francisco 49ers.

From Taylor, Carolina’s Cam Newton (90 carries, 359 yards), Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (60 carries, 349 yards), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (64 carries, 341 yards) to Prescott, offenses are evolving more with the quarterback’s legs in mind. At least a little.

The Cowboys studied how Mississippi State used Prescott. They look at how other teams in the NFL design runs for their quarterback.

“It’s certainly a challenge for the defense. We know that from the defensive side of the ball when we face quarterbacks who are able to do that,” Garrett said. “It just adds another guy. It’s another guy you have to defend. Oftentimes you can look at defensive football versus offensive football as 11 versus 10. You have an extra guy on defense. You add that element of the quarterback running, now we balance it all back up. Whether it’s being responsible for Dak or contain or just that guy, it can be a challenge. It was effective for us when we used it last year. It’s effective for teams all around the league.”

It won’t become a staple of the Cowboys’ offense, even with Elliott scheduled to miss six games. They don’t want to risk Prescott to injury even if he is 6-foot-2, 238 pounds. During training camp, Prescott has broken off a few long runs in the zone-read.

“I’ll leave that up to the coaches,” Prescott said. “I mean, it’s not necessarily in my hands to create more game

plans for me running, but if I had to guess, I would say I wouldn’t think so just in the fact I said we have the running backs who have done it in this league for a long time, so it’s not a panic here.”

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