Ezekiel Elliott’s days of being the Dallas Cowboys workhorse running back could be coming to an end. He’s handled the lion’s share of the workload since entering the league in 2016, but it might be time for him to dial it back just a bit. He has none other than RB Tony Pollard to thank for that.
Tony Pollard proved more than capable of lightening the load on Zeke’s shoulders last season, yet No. 21 still played 83.59% of the offensive snaps compared to Pollard’s 17.75%, the majority of that coming in the first three weeks of the season. Just about anybody would tell you Pollard deserved more playing time last year, but for whatever reason finding the right balance never happened.
Ezekiel Elliott is a rarity in the NFL right now. He is one of the few true workhorse running backs still in the league. Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is going to have to figure out the right balance of how to use both Zeke and Tony Pollard in 2020. That means we could see more of a running back timeshare this season.
Tony Pollard’s electrifying play as a rookie last season has pretty much forced the Cowboys into finding a way to get him more involved in the offensive game plan from week to week. Leaving him to feed off the measly scraps Zeke leaves is no longer acceptable. He deserves more touches, but that’s easier said than done.
The Dallas Cowboys offense is absolutely stacked full of weapons. There are so many mouths to feed and just so much time in any given game to get everyone involved. Tony Pollard no doubt should see an increase in playing time and here’s a reminder just in case you’ve forgotten why.
Tony Pollard is a dynamic weapon that absolutely needs to be utilized more moving forward. It doesn’t matter if his touches increase as a runner, receiver, or gadget player. The Dallas Cowboys have to find some way to get the ball in his hands more often.
Fortunately, I don’t believe a drastic change in playing time is needed in order to get Tony Pollard more involved. I think an average of 6-10 touches a game in whatever capacity could absolutely be doable and have the desired effect everyone is hoping for. That will both increase Pollard’s playing time and decrease Zeke’s a little to help keep him as strong and healthy as possible.
Finding 6-10 touches a game should be easily doable for a versatile offensive weapon like Tony Pollard. Like I mentioned earlier, he can be utilized as a runner, receiver, or gadget player on any given play and should be used as such. It’s up to Kellen Moore to figure out how to accomplish that and still keep Ezekiel Elliott happy/productive.
There’s no reason for Ezekiel Elliott to handle more than 80% of the workload again in 2020 with someone as capable as Tony Pollard backing him up. I think more of a 70/30 split is more than reasonable and something both players could be happy with. Zeke still remains the lead dog without giving up too much and Pollard would get the increased playing time he so rightfully deserves.
Regardless of how things shake out this season this is a good problem for the Dallas Cowboys to have. There’s no doubt in my mind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard will be a fantastic RB duo, the only question I have is will it be in more of a timeshare? If I were a betting man… I’d say yes.