Ezekiel Elliott goes from shell-shocked to settling in at OTAs

"Everything's been slowing down and becoming a lot easier," Ezekiel Elliott said, "so I'm settling into the offense and everything is going well." AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

IRVING, Texas -- A week ago Ezekiel Elliott admitted to being somewhat "shell-shocked" during his first organized team activities. Week 2 has gone much better for the Dallas Cowboys' rookie running back.

With Darren McFadden attending to family issues, Elliott took the first-team snaps on Wednesday.

"Everything's been slowing down and becoming a lot easier," Elliott said, "so I'm settling into the offense and everything is going well."

Elliott said he has gone from relying on anticipation at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp following the draft to going off instinct as he runs plays. On the first two running plays of a team period in 11-on-11 drills Wednesday, he had nice gains to his left. Later he showed good patience on a delay up the middle and was Tony Romo's safety valve on a swing pass.

"He's making plays but he wants more out of himself and we want more out of him. And we're going to get it," running backs coach Gary Brown said. "He's moving forward pretty well."

When the Cowboys drafted Tyron Smith (No. 9, 2011), Travis Frederick (No. 31, 2013) and Zack Martin (No. 16, 2014) in the first round, they were Day 1 starters in their first OTAs.

While expectations for Elliott, the fourth overall pick, are high, the Cowboys have not handed him the starting role. He worked behind McFadden at last week's OTAs and split time with Alfred Morris. He is also going through special teams drills, which is not something a No. 4 overall pick would do in the regular season.

"You kinda got to embrace expectations but it's not something I pay attention to," Elliott said. "But I know my expectations for myself and honestly they're probably higher than what other people expect for me. I'm going to focus on ball and focus on what's going on in this building and not what's going on outside the building."