It’s tough to argue with the results the Dallas Cowboys have gotten on offense as of late. They have come out of the bye week with what looks to be a new sense of purpose and have unleashed an onslaught against their opponents. While Dak Prescott has played exceptionally well over the last few weeks, the offense is still lacking a consistent rushing offense.
Starting running back Tony Pollard, for whatever reason, some his fault, some not, has been less effective this year as the lead guy. There is a lot that goes into an effective running game, and while it is always a work in progress, sometimes you might have to feed the hotter hand a little more.
Rico Dowdle Has Earned More Opportunities
Now this isn’t calling for a role reversal, this is simply suggesting the Cowboys should use what that they got at their disposal. Right now Dowdle is proving to be more effective with his touches than Pollard, and while it may not be a linear comparison between the two, an uptick of opportunities for him and a few less for Pollard may serve the Cowboys well.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on @1053thefan on RB Rico Dowdle: “He’s a violent runner. He runs with great skill. … I’m so proud for him. He’s finally put together the running back he can be. He’s outstanding. It just really gives us a 1-2 punch in there” at RB with Tony Pollard.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 14, 2023
So far this season Dowdle has only carried the ball 47 times, for 212 yards and one touchdown. That’s good for 4.5 yards a carry. For comparative purposes, Pollard has gotten almost three times as many carries as Dowdle has and has been less productive with that work. On 135 carries, Pollard has rushed for 529 yards, good for 3.9 yards a carry, and two touchdowns. On the season both have two touchdowns as piece with Dowdle’s second coming through the air.
A three-to-one split in opportunities should shrink going forward. Such a plan could work two-fold as you keep Pollard fresher heading late into the season, and if Dowdle continues to be more productive on a per carry basis, it only helps your offense.
It Was Never Ability That Held Dowdle Back, It Was Availability
Prior to this season, Dowdle has only had seven carries in his entire career. While part of that was due to a crowded backfield that once was occupied by Ezekiel Elliott, the main culprit as to why we have had to wait so long to see his breakout was injuries.
Dowdle appeared in 15 games his rookie season, mainly special teams, but the following two after, he only appeared in five total. His development and chances were hindered by his own body, and now that he has been able to stay on the field coupled with a real chance to be in the mix, Dowdle has made the most of it.
The Cowboys would be wise to continue to incorporate Dowdle into the game plan more as the season grows, as there is no negative to be had with the plan. If he thrives, you found another quality back, if he doesn’t then you now know that, but in the meantime Pollard is fresher for it than you otherwise would have been.
The masses are ready for more Rico Dowdle.