5 Cowboys who earned themselves larger roles in 2021

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

Being a loyal fan of the Dallas Cowboys is not an easy task. We have endured the terrorizing feeling of a botched incomplete catch call, mediocre 8-8 teams, and injuries to half the starting lineup. Despite this, we will continue to buy jerseys and rep the star of America’s Team.

Some players played well this season, whether we expected it or not. Heading into the 2021 season, some players will have a larger role with the team. These players give us hope for better times ahead.

Tony Pollard, RB. 5. player. 123. . .

Since being drafted in 2016, Ezekiel Elliott’s usage and production have been declining. The 2020 season was by far the worst season of his five-year career. He produced the fewest touchdowns and fewest yards per touch.

You can argue the injury-plagued offensive line had an impact on Zeke’s production. Regardless, the drop gave more opportunities to sophomore running back Tony Pollard.

When you look at his stats, they did drop. His average yards per run dropped exactly one yard from 2019 to 2020. If he had that far of a drop, why is he on this list?

Well, for one, the offensive line was a complete mess. Adding to that is Pollard was more than a running back for the Dallas Cowboys.

He excelled as a change of pace running back. Elliott was able to take a breather knowing that Pollard can step in and get the job done. That will help keep fresh legs on the field and give the offense a new look.

It was impressive seeing the Memphis product break free for long runs. That is something Elliott has struggled to do over the years since his rookie season.

As a pass-catcher, Tony held opposing linebackers in check. He caught 28 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown. His job as a receiver made up 31 percent of his total yards and will likely increase as the team looks to throw more looks at opposing defenses.

Special teams returners are not valued much, but as a Cowboys fan, I developed an appreciation for them. 2019 saw lackluster production from their kick returners (including Pollard), but he found a new gear this season.

His average yards per return increased by 6.4 yards. He was able to put the Cowboys in a better field position. Compare how special teams played this season to last season, and you will see it helps the offense more than some believe.

I see Pollard continuing his duties as a kickoff returner while seeing his offensive snap percentage rise to around 35-38 percent. If head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore like what they see, Pollard’s snaps should increase.