The Dallas Cowboys clearly thought they would be better off without Ezekiel Elliott when they released the veteran running back in March.

But one former NFL quarterback believes that isn’t the case.

Robert Griffin III thinks the Cowboys, who turned their feature back role over to Tony Pollard, sure could use the bruising 6-foot, 220-pound back at the moment, especially due to their struggles in the red zone which were a focal point in their Week 3 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cowboys went 1-for-5 in the red area this past Sunday, giving way to Griffin thinking Elliott would be a useful piece in the Cowboys offense at the moment.

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“The problem I have is, it felt like for two, three years, everybody at this network and around the world was talking about Zeke being washed. But the bottom line is the Dallas Cowboys miss Zeke right now,” Griffin said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Tuesday. “Last year, he was 17-for-21 on third and fourth down conversions — short-yardage situations. When you have a hammer like Ezekiel Elliott, it can take a lot of pressure off of the quarterback.”

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It obviously wasn’t just the Cowboys who thought Elliott’s best football was behind him as the 28-year-old, who was up for grabs for anyone to sign this summer, didn’t join the Patriots until mid-August.

Elliott showed this past Sunday he still might have something left in the tank, even if he’s lacking the burst that made him a three-time Pro Bowler. Elliott ran for 80 yards on 16 carries, good for a five yards per carry average in a 15-10 win over the New York Jets. Elliott had rushed for only a combined 42 yards on 12 carries in the two previous weeks.

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Elliott, who is in his eighth NFL season, isn’t in his prime anymore and he certainly can’t be relied upon week in and week out as a feature back in an offense. But by splitting carries with Rhamondre Stevenson, Elliott has shown he can be serviceable and contribute from time to time.

Elliott has motivation to make the Cowboys miss him even more Sunday when the Patriots travel to AT&T Stadium to take on Dallas.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images