NFL: Cowboys need to upgrade in pass rush, pass protection

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ezekiel Elliott has been sidelined with an injury since Week 6, which has hampered his production in a key defensive play-calling role.

Elliott, who has played a full 82-game season since being selected No. 1 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, has started only eight games since being activated from injured reserve.

Elliott has only four sacks through his first five games, including a season-low four sacks in a Week 2 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

He has also recorded one quarterback hurry, two quarterback hits and two hurries on five quarterback hits through six games.

Elliott said Sunday he was feeling good but still needs to get his body and mind back in the right place.

“I’m ready to go, I’m just going to be patient and wait for the doctors to do the right thing and give me the right treatment and get me back to the game,” Elliott said, via The Dallas Morning News.

“We have to wait for that.”

Elliot, who signed a two-year, $25 million contract extension in July, has been playing at a level he hasn’t at any point in his career, but his absence has been felt.

“If we’re not in the game, the defense is not in a good place,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a statement.

“That’s what I’ve been hearing, that’s what we’ve been seeing.

That’s the thing that we’re working on.”

Elliott said he’s ready to get back to work.

“It’s tough because the way that I look at it, the way I think about it, I just don’t want to play football until the end of this season,” Elliott told The Associated Press.

“Until that’s all done, it’s just not my place to be.”

Elliot’s injury has also impacted the Cowboys’ offense, which is averaging a league-low 3.4 yards per carry.

The team has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and quarterbacks, and the second-fewest yards per attempt to quarterbacks.