Dallas Cowboys: All eyes are on the running backs

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

With Dak Prescot’s injury, the Dallas Cowboys will be looking at their running backs to step up to the plate.

When Dak Prescott was knocked out with the ankle injury, many believed Ezekiel Elliott would play a bigger role in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Out of the 19 plays that happened (not including one sack and fumble), eight runs occurred, and ten total touches by Elliott and Tony Pollard in the 37-34 win against the New York Giants Sunday.

Andy Dalton takes over under center for the Dallas Cowboys who impressed by completing nine out of 11 passes for 111 yards. Dalton proved that he is more than capable of running offensive coordinator Kellen Moore‘s pass-happy offense. The question will be whether the game plan is going to change with Prescott out.

Dalton will need time to develop chemistry with his receivers since he took snaps with the second team for the most part. This will turn the attention to the backfield for Dallas. Elliott and Pollard will play a more critical role in the running game as well as the passing for the remainder of the season.

What Dallas needs from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

It’s been apparent that 2020 has not been so kind to Elliott or Pollard. Elliott has had trouble holding on to the football with three fumbles and had a key drop on Sunday that led to an interception. Pollard hasn’t been much better with questionable decision making on special teams as a returner.

Elliott is going to be the workhorse for the offense. With his $90 million looming over his head, he knows the pressure is on. Now is the time for Elliott to prove that he is worth every penny of his contract he earned last season.

So far in 2020, Elliott is on pace for a career-low just averaging 72.8 rushing yards per game. Despite that, he is on pace for a career year in the passing game averaging five catches per game, 34 receiving yards per game, and one touchdown. He’s known for being reliable in the screen game and getting the tough yards running or receiving by using his lower body strength.

The verdict is still out on Pollard after 20 total games in his young career. He hasn’t established much in the offense and has struggled on special teams. Many hope that he will make a bigger impact on offense, but Pollard will have to earn the playing time. Elliott will be hoping to have some support from his backup as the rushing attempts will most likely go up.

Will the running backs step up

It’s the biggest moment for both Elliott and Pollard’s careers. The spotlight will be more on Elliott being a star running back, but there should be as much pressure on Pollard. Both players are playmakers in different ways.

Elliott is one of the toughest runners in the NFL and is hard to bring down. He’s quietly a bigger factor in the passing game than many would expect. Pollard has more of the speed out of the backfield and could also be used as a receiving target for Dalton.

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The Cowboys are hoping that this will help give both running backs the boost they need to gain confidence. Elliott most importantly must make a huge leap to get back to the running back Dallas needs. Offensive line issues and injuries might have played a role in his performance this season, but it’s his time to step up.

Many Dallas Cowboys fans have not been pleased with Pollard’s performance on offense and special teams this season. Strong performances throughout the rest of the season could make the difference. He must become the playmaker the team was hoping he would become during his time in Dallas.

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Dalton needs support from his running backs to help him through the next few weeks as he adjusts to starting. Monday night’s contest against the Arizona Cardinals would be the perfect stage to prove their worth. Expect a heavy dose of Elliott and Pollard on offense through the rest of the season.

  • Published on 10/13/2020 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 10/13/2020 at 13:35 PM