The Landry Hat interviews Dallas Cowboys’ running back, Tony Pollard
When the Dallas Cowboys selected Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, it was to be a change of pace, complementary runner to their three-time Pro Bowler, Ezekiel Elliott. But with Elliott struggling with a calf injury on Sunday, it was Pollard who was asked to start against the San Francisco 49ers.
And following his performance, which included recording 132 yards of total offense, the second-year runner has proven he can be more than just a complementary backup to Zeke in Dallas. Pollard rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries, averaging 5.75 yards per carry. But the bulk of that yardage came on a spectacular 40-yard touchdown run late that sealed the 41-33 victory.
During an interview with The Landry Hat’s Steven Mullenax this week, Pollard said that highlight run was a big-time play the team needed at that point in the game. And that he was grateful to be able to come through for the team when they needed him to.
When asked about the spin move that freed him from the grasp of three 49er defenders on that game-breaking play, Pollard believes he’s able to make those kinds of moves because of a combination of practice and instinct.
"“A lot of it just comes with practice and repetition, seeing different looks in practice, being prepared for anything. But another factor is natural instincts come into play after a while. There’s only so much you can plan and practice for. After so long natural instincts kick in to, so it was a bit of both.”"
Following his successful showing against San Francisco, there might be some expectation that Pollard will see more opportunities even when Elliott returns from injury. But the 23-year old couldn’t speak on how the performance could impact his future playing time. The second-year back is only focused on what he can control.
When asked what aspect of his game he believes has improved the most this year, Pollard says it’s his pass blocking. He has a better overall understanding of where he’s supposed to be and fit now. But it also helps to have Elliott as a teammate, a player considered by many to be the best pass-blocking running back in the NFL.
"“Everyday when we’re at practice, in the meeting rooms, I’m asking [Zeke] questions about little things. Just trying to pick his brain. Trying to figure out things he knows. Just trying to better my self in the long run.”"
During his presser after Sunday’s big game, Pollard called Elliott his No. 1 fan on the sidelines. When asked what he’s a fan of about Zeke, Pollard had this to say …
"“I would just say him as a person. His character. Even with all the attention gets, that he’s been getting throughout his football career, he’s still the same level-headed guy. Down to Earth. He isn’t cocky or arrogant. Just him as a person. It goes a long way, outside of just football.”"
Sunday’s victory notched only the fifth win of the season for the Cowboys under new head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff. Pollard admitted that the lack of a true offseason program certainly impacted the chemistry of the team, and it took time to learn how other guys play and how to play off each other.
But Pollard believes the team registering its first back-to-back wins under McCarthy was big for the locker room this Sunday. Especially since they were able to carry the momentum over from their previous victory on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14.
When asked about what the key differences have been playing under McCarthy compared to his previous head coach, Jason Garrett, Pollard says it comes down to their personalities. While McCarthy’s more of a laid-back, player-type coach, Garrett was described as being more business-like in his approach. Both having their pros and cons.
But it was the addition of John Fassel, who Pollard calls “Coach Bones”, as the team’s new special teams coordinator that the young kick returner had the most glowing review of.
"“It’s great playing for Coach Bones. He makes everything fun. Whether we’re at practice going hard or in a game, you can be tired out of this world, but he’ll find a way to make it fun and entertaining for you. I definitely appreciate that about him … he finds a way to spice things up.”"
Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard is named Snickers’ Hungriest Player of the Week
Following his big performance on Sunday, Snickers elected to name Pollard the NFL’s Hungriest Player of the Week. And for his efforts, he was awarded the SNICKERS Chain, bling designed by the legendary Ben Baller.
The chain is given to the one player who shows hunger for more with big plays and moments on the field. And Pollard is the latest NFL star to don one.
"“It’s just an honor to be named Snicker’s Hungriest Player of the Week. Especially with all the big name guys that have already accepted the award. It was nice wearing that chain too. I kinda didn’t want to take it off. It’s definitely an honor.”"
Tony Pollard is the 13th player this season to win the Hungriest Player award from Snickers. Other NFL stars who have worn the chain this season include the running back Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, wide receiver Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, and quarterback Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals.
Fans can check out Tony Pollard’s social media to see more of the chain. And follow #SNICKERSchain on social to see which NFL player gets it each week throughout the rest of the season.