4. Split carries between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard more evenly
Against the Minnesota Vikings, running back Tony Pollard proved once again that he’s worthy of receiving more carries. But this isn’t news to Cowboy fans. They’ve watched Pollard seemingly outperform his $90 million teammate on a regular basis.
While starting running back Ezekiel Elliott was able to register his first 100-yard rushing game against the Vikings, Pollard was again more effective with his very limited carries. Zeke’s backup racked up 60 yards on a mere five carries, although the bulk of the yardage came on a 42-yard scamper that made a stop in the endzone.
Currently, Elliott is posting a career-low 3.9 yards per carry while playing in more than 75% of the offensive snaps. Pollard, on the other hand, is averaging a whopping 5.1 yards per rushing attempt while only getting to play in 23.19% of the offensive snaps.
The numbers clearly show the coaching staff must consider giving Pollard more opportunities and should have done so much earlier this season. Although, I would advise caution in thinking anyone should outright replace Elliott in Dallas.
Those old enough to remember should recognize the name, Troy Hambrick. The former Cowboys’ backup running back spelled Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith during the end of his career in Big D. And, at times, Hambrick also looked to be a much more effective running back compared to the aging Smith.
But there’s a stark difference between being the starter and being the backup. Case in point, Hambrick struggled as the 16-game starter after Smith departed for the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.
The speedy Pollard could very well fall into the same category as Hambrick due to the fact he’s such a change of pace back compared to Elliott’s more powerful and plodding-style. While we’re not suggesting this coaching staff needs to replace Zeke in the starting lineup with the former fourth-rounder, Pollard has certainly performed well enough to warrant a more equal distribution of carries.