RB Tony Pollard is the Dallas Cowboys latest dynamic offensive weapon, will this team find a way to use him to his fullest or will he join the long list of wasted talent?
Cowboys Nation has been abuzz with Tony Pollard fantasies this summer. The Day 3 pick out of Memphis hasn’t just lived up to his rookie expectations, but he’s exceeded them by a significant margin.
Few will dispute Pollard has been the most impressive rookie in this class. Not only did he fill the ginormous shoes of Ezekiel Elliott, but his play led many to say (jokingly, of course), “Zeke who?” His ability to run the rock between the tackles, bounce it outside, or even line up as a receiver makes him the dynamic weapon the Dallas Cowboys have long coveted.
But he’s hardly the first weapon of this nature Dallas had had the fortune of possessing. A few years ago it was Lance Dunbar who was the do-it-all playmaker who could run the ball like a RB, catch the ball like a WR, and horizontally stretch the field like a web back. He added a unique element to the Dallas Cowboys attack that has gone unmatched since he departed.
Another multi-skilled player was the sporadically exciting, Dwayne Harris. Harris carved out a steady role with the Dallas Cowboys from 2011 to 2014. Despite being a versatile playmaker and explosive return man, Harris only managed 5 carries for 13 yards and 33 receptions for 418 yards. When his contract came up, the New York Giants poached him and he had his best season yet, pulling in 36 receptions for 396 yards and 4 TDs for the G Men.
After Harris, Dallas went to Lucky Whitehead. Lucky was another exciting horizontal web player, capable of running the ball out of the backfield or running routes from the slot. But like so many before him, Dallas opted to reduce his game day role to a jet sweep specialist whose presence was about as transparent as Scott Linehan’s play-calling.
We fell victim to the hype once again in 2018 when the Dallas Cowboys pulled off a draft day trade for former top-10 overall pick, Tavon Austin. The excitement around the Dallas Cowboys newest web back grew to unspeakable proportions that manifested in a paltry 8 receptions for 140 yards and 6 carries for 55 yards (not exactly 20 touches a game, huh?).
Fool us once shame on us. Fool us half-a-dozen times…
So here we are with Tony Pollard. After looking so polished and so versatile in training camp and the preseason, it’s impossible to squash the hype surrounding Pollard. Even with Ezekiel Elliott now back in the fold, it looks like Pollard could have a major role on this Dallas Cowboys offense.
He can take the field in place of Zeke, or play on the field with Zeke. The table is set for him to be every bit as big as Dunbar was for this offense back in 2013 and 2014. But for as much as I get excited about Pollard’s potential this season, I’m reminded of my excitement towards the players that came before him. Only to be inevitably disappointed.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
Now it is possible Kellen Moore will channel his inner Sean Payton and make Pollard a key cog in much the same way New Orleans did with Alvin Kamara. But we’ve been burned so many times by how the Cowboys use role players like this, it’s hard to get too confident in Pollard’s potential here.
As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I’m buying into the hype this season. This is the best team we’ve seen in roughly a decade (maybe two decades when you consider depth), and with Kellen Moore’s offensive attack a mystery, the only limit to this offense is our own imaginations.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the Dallas Cowboys track record towards dynamic and explosive stretch players like this. With only so many balls to go around, this may once again prove to be disappointing.
The Dallas Cowboys have a long history of hyping up the potential of versatile stretch players who contribute in the running game, passing game, and special teams. Sadly, they rarely live up to it. Will Tony Pollard be different?
- Published on 09/07/2019 at 12:00 PM
- Last updated at 09/07/2019 at 06:14 AM