Tony Pollard’s foray into being the Dallas Cowboys’ unequivocal No. 1 running back has come with its share of turbulence. So much so that the emergence of Rico Dowdle is lending itself to similar conversations that were had about the Pollard-Ezekiel Elliott dynamic for years.
After supplanting Elliott as the team’s top back, the Cowboys committed to Pollard – at least for this season – by giving him the franchise tag and cutting Elliott loose. Pollard’s dynamic playmaking and speed had separated him from Elliott in recent years, but he’s struggled to meet expectations this season.
Pollard has finished with 55 rushing yards or fewer in six straight games, eclipsing the 100-yard mark just once, when he had 123 yards on 22 carries in a Week 3 loss to the Cardinals.
“I mean, there has definitely been frustration on my part,” Pollard told The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore. “But I have to remind myself to be patient. Let it come to me.”
Dowdle has gotten the ball more this season than in years past, getting a head-turning 12 carries – by far a career high – for 79 yards and a touchdown in last week’s shellacking of the Giants.
Jerry Jones is a fan of Dowdle, but told the K&C Masterpiece that he's steadfast in his belief that Pollard can still be an impact player.
“Pollard has burst, he has instincts and he literally has the fear of the defense any time he gets hold of the ball,” Jones said Friday. “We’ll have some good days ahead of us, it’s early in this season and hopefully seasons to come. But I haven’t lost anything about my thoughts about how Pollard can be the factor in us winning some games.
“It’s obviously got to happen with coordination of good line play, good blocking, good design by the coaches, good timing of when we use him. All of that will play a big part of it, but I’m not seeing any diminished burst from Pollard at all. So I think we’ll get him his days and he’ll come in, but boy, if anything it’s just such a welcome to have that backup strength we’ve got there. That’ll keep fresh legs in there. …
“We can time those guys nowadays with the technology we’ve got out there. (Pollard's) got burst, he’s got acceleration. It hasn’t diminished at all.”
The Cowboys are in line to play another terrible opponent this week when they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers. Until Pollard puts a stranglehold on the RB1 job, suffice it to say that workload between he and Dowdle will be closely followed.