The Dallas Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott as their lead lead back, and it doesn’t seem anything short of injury will change that in 2022. The challenge for the Cowboys, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, is getting more touches for Tony Pollard, who has proven to be a productive option when given the chance. Elliott is a workhorse but Pollard is the more explosive option who has the potential to score anytime he touches the ball.
Numerous articles here at BTB, and at other places, have argued that the Cowboys have grossly underutilized Pollard during his tenure in Dallas. While it’s true that Pollard’s touches have been increasing every year, there is a fair argument to be made that he should be getting as many carries, or more, than Elliott. That seems unlikely to happen, but there is another way the team could get Pollard on the field.
In OTAs this year, Pollard has been seen getting reps as a slot receiver. This is nothing new for him, he was basically a hybrid runner/receiver during his college days and has proven very adept at catching passes out of the backfield since he has been in the pros. The Cowboys have experimented before with Pollard as a receiver in offseason work, but it has never really translated to the regular season. Perhaps this year will be different. Pollard has no objection to it.
“I’m open to anything just being on the field, being able to make the most of my opportunities,” Pollard said, via the Dallas Morning News. “If I have to line up in the slot a little more, whatever it takes, I’m ready to do it.”
Pollard said he’ll take any opportunity he can get to contribute.
“I definitely feel like any opportunity I’m given, I’m going to do my best to make the most of it,” Pollard said. “The more I get, the more I can benefit the team.”
The Cowboys may want to make this move more out of necessity than choice this year, especially early on. With Michael Gallup expected to miss some of the early games in the season, and with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson out the door, the Cowboys receiving corps is a little thin. Free agent James Washington and draft pick Jalen Tolbert are expected to help, but it’s an unknown how well they will do. Washington has yet to prove to be a reliable option in his time in the pros, and Tolbert will be a rookie learning the ropes.
Pollard just may be a good option as a part-time receiver who works out of the slot. We know he can catch, and we know once he has the ball in his hands he is dangerous. We now know that he is ready and willing to do it. The question is will the Cowboys finally take advantage.