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Tony Pollard Should See More Work with Injuries at Wide Receiver

After making it through the preseason relatively unscathed on the injury front to the team’s starters and primary role players, the Dallas Cowboys have caught a case of the injury bug in the last week. Already it’s been announced that Xavier Woods is going to miss some time with an ankle sprain and Antwaun Woods is dealing with an MCL sprain. Injuries at any point in the season will test a team’s depth and the Dallas Cowboys are about to be tested at the wide receiver position with Michael Gallup out for up to a month and Tavon Austin still in the concussion protocol.

Heading into the Cowboys week three matchup with the Miami Dolphins, the team currently only has four healthy wide receivers on the roster; Amari Cooper, Devin Smith, Randall Cobb, and Cedrick Wilson. It’s certainly plausible that the team could look at a veteran player, perhaps even one that’s been with the team in the past, or they could call up one of their practice squad players like a Jon’vea Johnson or Ventrell Bryant.

The player the Dallas Cowboys should look to incorporate into the passing game, either in week three or beyond, is Running Back Tony Pollard.

Tony Pollard came to the NFL with the reputation of being mostly a receiving threat. In three seasons at Memphis, he caught nearly as many passes (104) as he had rushing attempts (139). In 2018, he had 1,000 yards from scrimmage with nearly half of those yards coming in the passing game. As a pass catcher, Pollard averaged more than 12 yards per reception for his career at Memphis and could be a dynamic weapon for the Cowboys to deploy in the passing game.

Rushing & Receiving Table
Rush Rush Rush Rush Rece Rece Rece Rece Scri Scri Scri Scri
Year School Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2015 Memphis FR WR 0 0 0
*2016 Memphis FR WR 13 31 159 5.1 1 29 298 10.3 2 60 457 7.6 3
*2017 Memphis SO RB 13 30 230 7.7 2 36 536 14.9 4 66 766 11.6 6
*2018 Memphis JR WR 14 78 552 7.1 6 39 458 11.7 3 117 1010 8.6 9
Career Memphis 139 941 6.8 9 104 1292 12.4 9 243 2233 9.2 18
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2019.

We’ve already seen how Pollard can be an effective runner for the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday he averaged 5.5 yards per carry on his four attempts and had a touchdown brought back due to a penalty.

The Cowboys love to use jet motion, throw bubble screens, and traditional screen passes, and Pollard can be an effective weapon in addition to his ability as a running back. Now it’s not likely that the team will want to put a lot on his plate early in the season or give opposing teams film of how they might use Tony Pollard in the passing game, but if they need to get some snaps at the receiver position from a player they trust, Pollard’s your guy.

They showed a lot of faith in Pollard during the preseason, running him exclusively with the first-team offense and giving him a vast majority of the workload. The team’s raved about his ability to pick up the playbook and execute the things they’re asking him to do. Unleashing his receiving skills will be a difference-maker for the Cowboys and could be huge while Michael Gallup and Tavon Austin are out of action.

The Dallas Cowboys have a weapon that the rest of the NFL is unfamiliar with and it’s only a matter of time until Kellen Moore calls his number in a way we haven’t seen yet. With only four healthy wide receivers on the roster currently and for the foreseeable future, Tony Pollard could find those opportunities rather soon. Despite the injuries to Gallup and Austin, the depth of playmakers the Cowboys have is very exciting. It’s only a matter of time until Tony Pollard creates a little excitement of his own.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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