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No Zeke? No Amari? No problem (so far), as Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup lead the charge for the offense

The Cowboys might have a couple young offensive stars on the rise.

NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys first-team offense has been on the field for two possessions this preseason, and each time they’ve went the length of the field for a score. Last week against the San Francisco 49ers, a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage kept them out of the end zone, but nothing stood in their way on Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys offense marched 97 yards down the field for a touchdown, and 82 of them came courtesy of two players - Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup.

The Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard had himself a great game, albeit it was just one series. The Memphis star had five carries for 42 yards, and added a reception for nine yards. He showed great patience and exploded through the running lanes. Pollard also demonstrated nice balance to overcome contact as he extended runs after the defense had trouble wrapping him up.

Coming out of college, Pollard reeled off 2,233 yards on just 243 touches for an impressive 9.2 yards per touch. He also scored 18 touchdowns, which equated to a TD every 13.5 touches. That’s outstanding. It’s a small sample size, but Pollard is continuing with that type of explosiveness at the pro level. On Saturday, he averaged 8.3 yards per touch and it only took him only 10 touches to get his first career NFL TD.

While Pollard was the workhorse on the drive, it would’ve been cut short had it not been for the great play by second-year receiver Michael Gallup.

Gallup is having an outstanding camp. His footwork has improved and it shows up in his route-running ability. He also exhibits great concentration when coming down with the catch. Despite going against a cornerback group that has been playing at a high level in training camp, Gallup has been giving them fits at times.

The more he and Dak Prescott work together, the better this duo looks, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Gallup was on the verge of a breakout season. He was the ninth wide receiver selected in last year’s draft, but don’t be shocked if he emerges as a legit threat this year.

Both Pollard and Gallup have been given additional opportunities thanks to the absence of Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. Both are dealing with contract negotiations, but are unavailable for different reasons. Zeke is holding out until a new deal is completed. Cooper is dealing with a with a strained heel and has been held out of practice to allow him additional time to rest.

With both star players out, the youngsters have been making the most of their opportunity. What is even more exciting is how great they are going to look when Zeke and Amari return. Pollard and Elliott together in this offense is going to make things difficult on opposing defenses. Elliott was the best in the league last year in runs of 15 yards or greater, as the All-Pro running back knows how to make the most of open running lanes.

1. Ezekiel Elliott: 25

2. Joe Mixon: 23

3. Saquon Barkley: 20

Pollard had five carries on Saturday, but two of them were for chunks (one for 15, one for 14). Despite being viewed as a space guy who can be dangerous in the open field, Pollard continues to prove he can run in between the tackles. He’s a cerebral player who is picking up things extremely well. With each new day, it’s making more and more sense why the coaching staff was so enamored by him from the get go. Along with Zeke, Pollard adds an element of explosiveness to this offense as well. These two are going to be so much fun to watch.

And when Cooper gets back on the field, Gallup will see a lot of 1-on-1 coverage and if he keeps separating like he has been, he’s going to be a dangerous weapon for Prescott. With the growing number of weapons on the offense, things are looking up for a team that finished 22nd in scoring last season. Between the new tools and an offensive coordinator that knows how to properly use them, this new-look offense may turn into a nice piece of work.

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