Cowboys News: Tony Pollard health update, Dallas' best-kept secret, NFL passes big rule change
By Jerry Trotta
The Dallas Cowboys could soon explore a move for a veteran running back, but that is in no way an indictment on Tony Pollard, who proved in 2022 that he's a star in the league.
Despite conceding over 200 carries to Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard finished the season with the third-most explosive rushes among running backs. Further, only Josh Jacobs, Nick Chubb and Aaron Jones posted a higher PFF rushing grade than Pollard's 90.0.
After rushing for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns on 5.2 yards per carry, Pollard made his first career Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, he couldn't participate in the festivities after he suffered a fractured fibula and high-ankle sprain in the Cowboys' Divisional Round loss against the 49ers.
Pollard underwent tight-rope surgery to repair his ankle. It thankfully isn't in the same stratosphere as ACL reconstruction surgery or Achilles surgery, and Dallas has expressed optimism the 26-year-old will be ready for training camp.
Incredibly, Pollard is shooting for an earlier return date. Per Mickey Spagnola of Cowboys.com, it's expected Pollard will be all systems go "in plenty of time" for the start of camp, indicating he'll be cleared in early July, if not sooner.
Cowboys RB Tony Pollard to be cleared well before training camp
In other Cowboys news, Bleacher Report named the best-kept secret on Dallas' roster. With numerous hidden gems on the team, including Terence Steele, Sam Williams, DaRon Bland, Osa Odighizuwa and Jake Ferguson, B/R had no shortage of options to select from.
Ultimately, Bland got the nod and it's easy to see why.
With Sauce Gardner and Tariq Woolen consuming most of the rookie cornerback spotlight, Bland's year one contributions fell by the wayside.
A part-time player for the first seven games until Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown sustained season-ending injuries, Bland finished the year second among rookies with five interceptions and allowed just a 76.4 passer rating on 66 targets in coverage, per Pro Football Focus.
The arrival of Stephon Gilmore will only expedite Bland's develop. After year one, the 2022 fifth-round pick looks a core member of Dallas' secondary.
Finally, the NFL implemented a big rule change Monday at the owner's meetings.
Essentially, teams can name an "emergency" third quarterback active for a game without the player counting as a roster spot. For Dallas, Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush will count as two of the 48 allotted roster spots. With this new wrinkle, Will Grier or another QB on the roster can dress for games.
This is significant after the 49ers ran out of quarterbacks in the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles. After Brock Purdy injured his elbow and backup Josh Johnson sustained a concussion, the 49ers turned to Christian McCaffrey to run a wildcat-style offense.
It'll be interesting to see if the Cowboys put this rule change to use this upcoming season.