Dallas Cowboys: What does Tony Pollard’s play mean for Ezekiel Elliott?
By Matt Aaron
When the Cowboys drafted Pollard, the headline was that he would be a third-down back, a change of pace back, a gadget guy, and a kick returner. That’s not how he was used in Dallas’s first drive on Saturday. Pollard’s play over the weekend seemed a lot more like that of a starting, work-horse rusher. Look back at the Cowboys first scoring drive.
The ball went to Pollard on five out of twelve plays, including both the first and the last. First and last says a lot. So does five out of twelve plays. That’s 41 percent of the snaps.
Pollard’s 42 out of Dallas’s 97 yards on that drive calculates to 43 percent of the yardage. And finally, there was Pollard’s 15-yard, between-the-tackles scoring scamper. It was an impressive run.
Pollard was hit multiple times but kept going for the score. It was the kind of run a star running back makes. In fact, that entire drive showed Pollard’s star power, for all the reasons named.
So yeah, if I were Elliott I’d be getting worried. Because his leverage is quickly evaporating. It’s not that the Cowboys don’t want him back. Of course, they do. He’s still arguably the best running back in the league. A few good plays by Pollard won’t change that.
But again, let’s look at it from Elliott’s perspective. A player on holdout is kind of like a girlfriend in a fight with her boyfriend. The last thing she wants to see is a cute girl whispering in his ear. It might make her stop waiting for him to bring her chocolates. Even so, Elliott still stands to get a very generous contract.