The Dallas Cowboys may have an advantage at nearly every position group against the Washington Football Team this Sunday, but the reigning NFC East winners are far from the team they want to see if this is the week they hope to fix the running game. After not resting Ezekiel Elliott against the Saints, the Cowboys are hopeful the mini-bye with ten days of rest before Washington will be enough for a player that told the media he’ll “have to be dragged off the field”. Wednesday’s practice may have assured this, as Elliott’s backup Tony Pollard did not participate. With only Corey Clement on the roster behind this duo, the team signed RB Ito Smith to the practice squad yesterday.
Smith was a 2018 fourth round pick of the Atlanta Falcons, playing three seasons there and totaling 689 yards on 175 carries. The 90 carries he saw as a rookie remains his career high, as Smith hasn’t appeared in a game since last season. He was waived after short stints with the Cardinals and Vikings this offseason.
Todd Archer on Twitter: “There is some concern – maybe not red-alert – about Tony Pollard’s availability Sunday with that foot injury. With Ezekiel Elliott dealing with the knee issue, Pollard banged up, that’s why they added Ito Smith to PS. Corey Clement the other RB on the 53-man roster. / Twitter”
There is some concern – maybe not red-alert – about Tony Pollard’s availability Sunday with that foot injury. With Ezekiel Elliott dealing with the knee issue, Pollard banged up, that’s why they added Ito Smith to PS. Corey Clement the other RB on the 53-man roster.
The Cowboys have found a special teams role for Clement, a similar type of back to Smith with his ability to both run and catch passes out of the backfield. While Coach Fassell gets the most out of Clement, the Cowboys made an easy decision to solidify their RB depth by signing Smith – who played just 35 ST snaps in three seasons as a Falcon.
Pollard’s foot injury isn’t considered serious, but the Cowboys commitment to reigniting their running game is. The move to sign Smith as a third option with two backs that can more than handle a full game’s workload when healthy proves this. Just how healthy Ezekiel Elliott is may never be known, as the Cowboys starter refuses to come off the field. Unless Pollard’ injury takes an unexpected turn, it’s not likely the Cowboys missed their potential window to take Elliott off the field, as he could be available Sunday and back to full strength by week 15.
The NFC East has been the Cowboys division to lose for weeks now, and that won’t change as they end the regular season with four divisional games left to play. With a win Sunday, they can change their focus slightly towards the bigger goal of the postseason. If this means finally forcing Elliott to cut back on snaps, Tony Pollard and possibly Ito Smith will have to be ready.