Dallas Cowboys two-headed monster is the recipe for success

Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Dallas CowboysCowboys Training Camp 15
Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Dallas CowboysCowboys Training Camp 15 /

In the Dallas Cowboys first two games, they have been truly battled tested against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the resurgent San Diego Chargers and quarterback Justin Herbert. Not only did the Cowboys show up and show out, but the Cowboys exceeded all expectations and showed the NFL that they’ll not the same 6-10 team from 2020.

Besides improving on defense and continuing their offensive prowess, the Cowboys have discovered success with the dynamic duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

The Dallas Cowboys two-headed monster is truly their recipe for success moving forward

Against the Bucs stout defensive front, the Dallas Cowboys wisely abandoned the run-while Zeke and Pollard ran for a total of 47 yards on 14 carries. But against the Chargers, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore did the best thing ever by splitting the carries between Zeke and Pollard to the tune of 180 yards and two touchdowns between the two of them.

Pollard showcased his explosiveness and ability to break off long runs while Zeke brought the power and bullying to gain first downs on short yardage, and to keep the Chargers defense honest. Further, the Cowboys didn’t have to rely solely on feeding Zeke 30 plus carries against an eight man box (that’s not a knock on Zeke, but analytics say Zeke isn’t as successful).

Even though Zeke is still a powerful, effective back, it’s clear as water that Zeke is no longer the one we raved about in 2016. So why feed Zeke 30 plus times when he’s no longer that type of back?

In other words, the Dallas Cowboys running game is more lethal with a two-back tandem than they are relying on one back to take the bulk of the carries. This tandem works favorable with the Cowboys’ passing attack because now Dak Prescott doesn’t have to pass it 50 plus times to win a closely contested game. The beauty of this is that Zeke and Pollard are really good pass catchers out of the backfield, too (Pollard 3 catches for 31 yards and Zeke two catches for 26 yards against the Chargers).

Of course, Zeke and Pollard feasted on the Chargers two deep zone that left fewer defenders in the box. According to Next Gen stats,  the Dallas Cowboys had a field day when facing light boxes by rushing for 128 yards on 21 carries. Once again it’s “pick your poison” situation: load the box to stop the run and pay dearly with the pass, or play two-deep zone and watch Zeke and Pollard run like wild horses.

If you need proof that the two-back system is beyond effective, just look at the successes of the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns — two teams that have similar runners like the Dallas Cowboys. During the 2019 season, the 49ers steamrolled through the season and all the way to the Super Bowl because it relied on three running backs to share the load.

Tevin Coleman (544 yards, 6 tds, 4.0 yards y/a), Raheem Mostert (727 yards, 8 tds, 5.6 y/a), and Matt Breida (623 yards, one td, 5.1 y/a). Collectively, this trio rushed for 1,894 yards, 15 touchdowns, and averaged 4.9 yards a carry! My Gawd!

What’s amazing about the 49ers was that Mostert had zero starts that season and came off the bench. Plus, this trio of backs as a group caught 54 passes for 480 yards.

That’s success baby!

Last season, the Browns rode Nick Chubb (1,067 yards, 12 tds, 5.6 y/and Kareem Hunt (841 yards, 6 tds, 4.2 y/a) all the way to the playoffs-beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard game.

The 49ers and Browns found success with this multi-back system with Jimmy Garoppolo and  Baker Mayfield as their quarterbacks. Just imagine the success Dak will have as a quarterback if Moore continues this successful blueprint. Several months ago, I wrote an article about Dallas using Zeke and Pollard as a dynamic duo.

Even though Zeke is still a powerful, effective back, it’s clear as water that Zeke is no longer the dynamic back we raved about during his rookie season in 2016. So why now feed Zeke 30 plus times when he’s no longer that type of back? Using Zeke in tandem with Pollard allows him to still be effective with his skill set, especially in pass protection.

Yep, Pollard is definitely more explosive than Zeke and is more prone to break a long run to pay dirt, but Pollard doesn’t need 20 plus carries a game either. Like site expert Reid Hanson so eloquently explained in his article, there is enough food to have dinner for two.

In conclusion,

Just like the backup quarterback tends to be the most popular popular player when the starter flutters, the same case can be be true here. It’s true that Pollard is playing the better out of the two, but unless Zeke completely falls off over the next several games it should be a split backfield in Dallas.

At the end of the day, Zeke and Pollard make Dallas more potent because their talents are unique and cause more trouble for opposing offenses.

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Next. The Dallas Cowboys need more 2 RB sets to showcase their dynamic duo. dark

Moore knows this, and maybe the young coordinator understands the usefulness of the two-headed monster recipe that can take the Dallas Cowboys beyond a divisional crown and deep to the playoffs! BOOM!