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Cowboys news: PFF’s highest-graded rusher from 2021 is already in Dallas

And other notable headlines surrounding America’s team.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys backup RB Tony Pollard gets highest PFF rushing grade for 2021- Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

All signs point to Tony Pollard deserving more touches.

This week, Pro Football Focus provided fans with even more reasoning to believe that Pollard deserves a chance for more snaps than given in the past. According to PFF’s unique grading system, the Cowboys’ backup running back received the highest rushing grade out of all running backs last season with a grade of 90.3. A backup grading out better than Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, and Alvin Kamara.

To compare the two Dallas running backs, Elliott’s overall PFF grade was 68.9, and Pollard’s was 86.2 (fourth-highest among all running backs in 2021).

Tony Pollard received the highest rushing grade from PFF despite being the Cowboys’ backup running back

For more context, Pollard ranks seventh amongst all NFL running backs with 2,939 all-purpose yards since 2020. Above him were, Cordarrelle Patterson (2,990), Justin Jefferson (3,032), Cooper Kupp (3,050), Kamara (3,098), Cook (3,301), and Taylor (3,639). What makes that even more impressive is how much less time Pollard got to obtain those yards. In 2021, Taylor had 768 snaps, Cook had 608, Kamara had 627, Kupp had 1,024, and Pollard had a mere 371. He’s making things happen in less time. What would happen if he was given as many snaps as Elliott (810)?

Cowboys’ turbulent offseason reminds of ‘90s. So, how would Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman move forward?- Calvin Watkins, DMN

What would two-thirds of the triplets do?

An offseason of turbulence, just like the 1990s.

“It’s not different,” Smith said. “Turbulent offseasons are offseasons, that’s what they are. It’s during the offseason and not during the season. This has been a year of a lot of change throughout the National Football League and a lot of other things have popped up as well. These are the times when teams should be forging ahead or forging that collective bond; during trying times is when you build character.”

How the Cowboys forge ahead will determine plenty in 2022. McCarthy and Quinn have bonded this offseason during the draft process and the Cowboys are better for it.

The legal issues with the Jones family have nothing to do with football, with it being more tabloid fodder than anything else. It hasn’t stopped the Cowboys organization from pushing forward as the first NFL team to form a cryptocurrency partnership with Blockchain.

But, you can’t ignore some of the issues that have occurred because you wonder if any will seep into the locker room.

“I don’t want to say it’s a big deal, I think especially when a lot of it is self-inflicted,” Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman said. “That’s the hard part, invariably there are challenging times, seemly of different nature of each year. But, I think guys are pretty resilient and once they do get on the field and start practicing, a lot of the things, may feel as a distraction aren’t so much.”

Cowboys Likely Need a New Punt Returner in 2022- Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

One of the underrated aspects of Cedrick Wilson leaving is that they are left with no punt returning options outside of Lamb.

Lamb has been the primary PR since arriving in Dallas. He returned 24 punts as a rookie compared to just five for Wilson. They shared duties more evenly last year as CeeDee moved into a primary role on offense.

Now Amari Cooper’s gone and Michael Gallup’s probably not coming back until October.. With Lamb becoming a critical element to the Cowboys’ offensive solvency, the undisputed number-one receiver, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll continue to be risked on punt returns.

Unfortunately, Wilson is no longer here to pick up the workload. He signed with the Dolphins last March as a free agent.

That leaves Dallas without a bona fide option to return punts in 2022. Before CeeDee arrived the top punt returners were Tavon Austin and Randall Cobb, both long gone.

Kickoffs are another matter. Tony Pollard has that job locked up for one more year and hopefully Rico Dowdle will be back as another option. But Pollard has never been asked to handle punts in his three seasons with the Cowboys, and there must be a good reason why given his athleticism.

Newly-signed James Washington also won’t help, having not been a return man for the Steelers at all in his four season. And while Noah Brown keeps finding his way back on the roster through special teams, returning isn’t his game.

2 Injured but elite prospects the Dallas Cowboys could target in the Draft- Reid Hanson, SportDFW

Jerry is no stranger to bargain-hunting the injured prospects.

Jameson Williams, WR

Alabama

Despite falling to an ACL injury in January, Jameson Williams is still on top of many teams’ draft boards. The 6-foot-1, 180lb burner from Alabama has elite play-maker ability and an impressive resume against some of college football’s very best talent.

Last season Williams pulled in 79 balls for 1572 yards, 15 touchdowns, at nearly 20 yards/reception. Even though the ACL surgery happened late in the season, Williams is said to be ahead of schedule and should be cleared to play sometime early in the season (although they always seem to say this).

Teams that need to get immediate results from their draft class may not be eager to take a gamble on Williams’ uncertain timetable, even if the prognosis is optimistic. If a safer WR is on the board, some GMs may be inclined to go that route for the sake of their own job security.

For Dak Prescott, What A Difference A Year Makes - Rob Phillips. DallasCowboys.com

Having Dak at full health should be a plus for 2022.

This time last year, Dak Prescott felt a different type of excitement about the game of football — a “completely different” perspective, he said.

Last April, he was just starting to work back into football activities after undergoing two surgeries to repair his 2020 ankle injury that sidelined him for the final 11 games that season.

This April, as the Cowboys start their voluntary workout program, Prescott’s feeling “pumped up” about his first fully healthy offseason in two years — and really, his first normal offseason work since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic restricted access at team facilities.

“A year ago you’re excited because you’re back on your leg, you’re moving it for the first time, from one week to the next you get to do two jumps to three jumps to jog to sprint. So, you’re excited and you feel that progress,” Prescott said Friday at Friday’s Children’s Cancer Fund Gala in Dallas which supports research to fight pediatric cancer.

“But a year from now, I get on the field and I don’t even think about my leg. It goes from getting that leg better to that’s not even a thought in my head. There’s days maybe the cold front comes in that I might feel it a little bit more, but it’s not even a thought in my head or something I’m worrying or rehabbing on.”

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