OVERREACTION: Justin Fields has the ability to hurt this Cowboys’ defense.
Over the last two games, Justin Fields seems to have found his stride – throwing for almost 400 yards and rushing for over 170 yards. Fields has shown flashes in his abilities as an NFL quarterback since his rookie season just one year ago. Don’t let Fields’ lack of success early on discourage you though. Fields is in his second offensive system in just two years into the league but is showing signs of coming into form this year, and that could spell bad news for opposing defenses.
The Cowboys did a great job the last time they faced a mobile quarterback, limiting Jalen Hurts rushing ability during their week 6 matchup against the Eagles. However, Fields looks much quicker than Hurts at times and has shown being capable of escaping pressure and making remarkable plays down the field. The Cowboys have clearly struggled in the run defense, and if they have trouble containing Fields early in the game – the Cowboys could find themselves in trouble.
UNDERREACTION: I’m worried about Tony Pollard’s pass protection
Ezekiel Elliott is expected to miss today’s game against the Chicago Bears, after he suffered a knee injury in last weeks game against the Detroit Lions. Cowboys’ fans have long been begging for Tony Pollard to see more touches, and they will get their wish this week.
What worries me about Tony Pollard getting more touches is his pass blocking ability. One of Ezekiel Elliott’s greatest strengths is his dominant pass blocking skills and succeeds at picking up blitz defenders when Dak Prescott drops back to pass.
I’m not here to sell you that Tony Pollard is some scrawny running back that gets easily pummeled by defenders – that’s not the case. Tony Pollard is 6’0 ft, 209lbs. He definitely has the athletic ability to be a promising blocker. But when Tony Pollard has been in the backfield with assignments to block defenders, he has struggled at times throughout his career.
Although the Chicago Bears recently traded star defensive end Robert Quinn just last week, the Chicago Bears still employ Roquan Smith and are ranked the 2nd defense in the league in passing with 12 sacks on the year. The Bears love to go after quarterbacks, so if the Cowboys want to keep Dak Prescott upright throughout this game, Tony Pollard is going to need to be better in pass protection.