Tony Pollard is entering the final year of his rookie deal with the Cowboys. In his first three seasons, although he’s been vastly underused, Pollard has shown how explosive and elusive he can be with the ball in his hands.
Even a blind man can see that Pollard needs more touches, especially with the recent injury history of Ezekiel Elliott. There have been rumblings of Pollard getting more involved in the offense in 2022, which is long overdue.
One person, NFL.com writer Nick Shook, sees Pollard as a possible Pro Bowl selection if he’s featured how he should be.
Shook on why he thinks Pollard will reach the Pro Bowl:
“This is going to be tough to pull off because Pollard isn’t a featured back. But Pollard brings three-down ability to the field, and I’m very bullish on his potential in 2022. He posted career numbers in 2021, and I don’t see his role decreasing. Dallas boasted the league’s top offense last season while Pollard outgained the top running back on the depth chart, Ezekiel Elliott, by more than a full yard on a per-carry basis. Add in his 39 receptions for 337 yards and you have a running back who is seeing enough touches to make a difference. Pollard will catch some eyes, should Dallas remain competitive in 2022.”
There were a few games last season that can be classified as head-scratcher in terms of the Cowboys’ usage of Pollard. In the season opener, Pollard only had four rushing attempts. Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, with playoff positioning in play, he managed just three attempts. The most glaring example came in the Cowboys’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers where Pollard had just six total touches (four rushes, two receptions).
That’s an indictment on offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Although he’s had two No. 1 offenses in three seasons, he’s also failed to feature players like Pollard who have unique skill sets. Putting Pollard on the field more will limit the wear and tear on Elliott, and having them both on the field simultaneously will make the Cowboys’ offense quite the puzzle to solve.
Pollard and his quick one-cut ability and speed are the perfect complements to Elliott and his tough running style between the tackles. If used correctly, Pollard can produce not only on the ground but in the passing game, much like he did during his collegiate days at Memphis. Whether or not it’ll lead to a Pro Bowl remains to be seen.
Featured image via Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports