Usually made up awards like the Fed Ex Ground Player of the Week are of no consequence. Really, they are just a way for a company to get some publicity. But this week let’s make an exception. This week, Tony Pollard is up for the award.
Really, this is just another way to get to praising Pollard for his work all year, and his extraordinary work against the Chicago Bears. Pollard had 131 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Sure, that’s a good day, but not eye-popping until you realize he did that on just 14 rush opportunities. Do the math and that is 9.4 yards per carry.
That’s just an extension of what he has done in his career at Dallas, and especially this year. It’s the reason Cowboys fans have been begging for the team to get him more involved. They are finally listening. No running back in the league this year with over 50 carries averages more than Pollard’s 6.2 yards per carry. Only Lamar Jackson has a higher YPC rate.
The Cowboys have been making strides to involve Pollard more, just slowly. In 2019, Elliott had roughly 78% of the touches, in 2020 he had 70%, and last year Elliott was at 62%. In 2022, Elliott has 109 attempts while Pollard has 81. That works out to Elliott at 57% which is getting closer to the 50-50 so many have wanted.
Obviously there are arguments to be made about which back should be the lead back, and how much each brings to the table in the Cowboys current offensive architecture. Elliott is acclaimed for his pass protection and his ability to get the tough yards. Admittedly, he has looked fresher this year with more burst. Pollard is so explosive and can also run between the tackles, but would his explosiveness be hurt from too many carries over the course of a season, not too mention the chance of injury? We know Elliott can handle a heavy workload, but that hasn’t been tested for Pollard over the course of a season.
It does appear that the Cowboys have gotten just about right this year, although giving Pollard a few more chances probably wouldn’t be an issue, and could only help. Anyway, go vote for Pollard. He’ll probably lose to Derrick Henry and his 219 yards on 32 attempts, but let’s do our part anyway. We owe it to Pollard for his incredible Week 8 performance.