Dallas Cowboys must keep feeding Tony Pollard: Dinner for two in Dallas

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys finally gave the fans what they wanted; more touches for Tony Pollard. Pollard, the explosive do-it-all back out of Memphis, has long been serving as Ezekiel Elliott‘s change of pace option. He’s even filled in for stretches as a full-time replacement here and there.

Despite repeatedly putting out highlight runs just about every opportunity he gets, he’s seemingly never been able to get a seat at the table in Dallas. The commitment to “feed Zeke” has been steadfast, and up until now, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t been willing to accept what so many of us so clearly see. Until Sunday.

The Dallas Cowboys split the carries evenly between Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott and that’s a good thing.

On Sunday in LA the Dallas Cowboys fed TP 13 times for 109 yards, compared to Zeke who got the rock 16 times for 71 yards. This fairly even split was a welcomed sight to those who have been tracking the numbers over the past couple seasons.

For quite some time, Pollard has been outperforming Zeke in just about every efficiency category including elusive rating, average yards after contact, and breakaway run rate. About the only thing Zeke has beaten Pollard at is getting more attempts. As we discussed in “Do teams still fear Zeke?“, teams haven’t even been packing the box against Zeke anymore – last season he only faced an average of 6.5 defenders in the box which comes out to 62nd in the NFL.

To be clear, this isn’t a article about how Tony Pollard is better than Zeke. They are different running backs and depending on your needs, preferences, and situation, one may be more desirable than the other. It’s hard to beat Zeke as a pass protector. And in short yardage situations, Zeke is usually a great option. But a case can be made Pollard is the better option in most other situations, and at the very least, he’s worthy of an equal share of the “dinner”, so to speak.

The Dallas Cowboys seem to be willing to make tough decisions in Year 2 of the McCarthy era. They haven’t been afraid to elevate lower paid players ahead of their highly paid brethren (see also: Jaylon Smith) and they act as though they’re committed to starting the best possible players even if it hurts feelings along the way.

Tony Pollard has proven he’s a gamechanger. He’s more elusive, more explosive, and while not nearly as powerful, he has a knack for getting more yards after contact. The guy has earned a seat at the table.

There’s no reason to feed Zeke in Dallas anymore. Tony Pollard deserves his share and the passing game is exponentially more productive so there’s no reason to increase the number of runs per game either.

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The Dallas Cowboys running game now requires a table for two.

  • Published on 09/20/2021 at 12:25 PM
  • Last updated at 09/20/2021 at 14:25 PM