The Dallas Cowboys have had what many people consider to be the best running back in the NFL in All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott since 2016. However, they decided that it was time to add even more firepower to the offensive backfield during the 2019 NFL Draft and selected Tony Pollard in the fourth round. In May, former Cowboy and backup running back Rod Smith went to the New York Giants, which opened the door for Pollard to really show his worth early, and he didn’t waste any time making a name for himself.
In three preseason games, Pollard ran for 84 yards on 15 carries. That was good for 5.6 yards per carry for the former Memphis Tiger. Also, he reached the end zone with a 14-yard touchdown run against the Los Angeles Rams. He would sit out the final preseason game in order to have himself ready to go against the New York Giants in the season opener.
Ezekiel Elliott only had a few practices before the season due to his contract holdout. This put him on a snap count to start the season and gave Pollard a chance to get some real game reps. He would see the field for 22 offensive snaps which included 13 carries for 24 yards. The yardage may not have been impressive but as a rookie running back in his first regular-season game it’s about getting experience and he was able to get plenty of that Week 1.
Week 2 saw Elliott’s snap count increase from 37 plays in the opener to 53 against the Washington Redskins. Obviously, this would mean less time for Pollard who only had four carries for 22 yards in 17 plays.
Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 the Cowboys used a dominant second half to cruise to a 31-6 victory. With Elliott rushing for 125 yards on just 19 carries his day was done with just under nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Pollard would close out the game with 74 yards on nine carries and score his first NFL touchdown. In total, he finished with 103 yards on 13 carries and showed the world the potential of Elliott and himself as a two-headed monster in the running game.
The last three games we’ve seen very little from Pollard in any capacity. Against the New Orleans Saints, he would only see the field for two plays and didn’t touch the ball once. Granted, the Cowboys couldn’t get anything from Elliott with the offensive line getting manhandled but at some point, you would think Pollard could have gotten a few touches in an attempt to change the pace, however, that never materialized.
When the Green Bay Packers came to town Pollard only had four carries on five offensive snaps. The Cowboys were down as much as 28 points so that forced them to throw for the majority of the game and abandon the run, but one carry per quarter for Pollard was still head-scratching.
Last Sunday against the New York Jets saw the Cowboys get down 21-6 in the first half. After halftime, they road the coattails of Elliott to get back in the game but fell just short 24-22. It’s understandable to feed a player like Elliott when you’re trying to get back into a game, however, Pollard only seeing seven offensive snaps still seemed a little odd.
Pollard has only been on the field for 14 plays in the last three weeks. This is surprising for a player averaging 4.9 yards per carry on the season. He has become the forgotten man in the Cowboys offensive attack during the last month and it will be interesting to see if that changes with this current three-game losing streak. Pollard has the ability to take it the end zone on any given play with his speed and athleticism. It’s time for the Cowboys to utilize Pollard’s skill set in both the running game and through the air. This will make the Cowboys offense that much more dynamic and hard to defend.