Yes, we have heard it before. So there is no judgment if you choose not to believe the Dallas Cowboys. Their track record on this issue isn’t exactly exemplary. Nevertheless, they are saying it again. Tony Pollard will get more touches, and some of them may come as a reciever.
Cowboys fans have been clamoring for the team to put the ball in Pollard’s hands. He is a back who can change the game’s momentum with a single touch. Ezekeile Elliott is the workhorse, a quality back who does almlost everything well, but he is no longer a homerun hitter. You get mostly productive singles and doubles with Elliott, with Pollard every touch is a chance at a score.
In fairness to the team, they have been slowly increasing Pollard’s usage over the years. He set career highs in both runshing and receiving yards last year and it was a big jump forward. His previous high rushing was 455 yards in a season until last year when he went for 719 yards. Same story catching the ball as his previous high was 193 yards, in 2022 he had 337 yards. He also hit a career-high in touches at 169.
So things are trending in the right direction. But coming out of Memphis, Pollard was as much receiver as running back. The team has never fully taken advantage of that skill. If they ever were going to, 2022 would be the optimal year for it. The Cowboys are thin at the position, and the Michael Gallup recovery along with the James Washington injury makes giving help to CeeDee Lamb imperative.
Why not go the easy route and use Pollard more? The Cowboys claim that is what they will do. But trust has been broken before. The first hurdle is always the battle to get Pollard on the field and possibly take touches away from Elliott. Kellen Moore is working the problem.
“We certainly want those guys to get touches, and it’s a matter of finding those different roles,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said. “Both of them we want to get creative with, get them on the field at the same time. And then obviously when one guy is down, the other guy is in there contributing. So, I think it will be a fun task for us to kind of pair those guys up and be creative with how we can utilize them in different positions and find opportunities for success.”
Dallas hasn’t forgot about Pollard’s ability to play a more traditional reciever role at times. Moore, Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy are all playing up the possibilities around that role.
“A lot of it is coming back to him,” Moore said. “I think he does have more than just that. He’s not going to run [just] the running back route tree, the quick game and just kind of the completion plays. He can stretch people vertically, and I think that will be a huge advantage for him to put people in conflict of how they want to handle him.”
Said Dak Prescott, “He can get out there and be one of our best pass-catchers, and just the way that he’s grown, just with his route running from the time that we’ve asked him to take on that role is impressive itself.”
“... it really comes down to the expansion of job responsibility,” McCarthy said. “That’s all it really is, and where he plays and how he plays, that’s all part of the game and design of it. But it’s really expanded his opportunity to touch the football.”
Sounds intriguing. Yet, it always has and has never really come to pass (pun intended). There is no one who is more dynamic with the ball in hands on the Cowboys team than Pollard. Well, maybe KaVontae Turpin will give him a run for the money. Regardless, use Pollard to his fullest, Cowboys. Quit messing around.