The Dallas Cowboys don't have a running back problem, but it says a lot that Rico Dowdle has been more efficient this season than Tony Pollard.
Very quietly Pollard's numbers this season mirror Ezekiel Elliott's numbers through the first nine contests of 2022. After averaging 5.2 yards per attempt on a career-high 193 carries last year, Pollard's efficiency has plummeted to the tune of 3.9 yards per carry as the backfield's undisputed workhorse.
While the Cowboys offensive line hasn't been in-sync on running plays, folks are beginning to question if Pollard is cut out to be a bell-cow back. Many talking heads think he's best suited as a change-of-pace back that can terrorize a defense that's been worn down by the lead, power back.
Pollard flourished for years in that exact role behind Elliott, and fans want the Pro Bowler to revert back to that role. The only problem? The coaching staff has been reluctant to move off Pollard and promote the powerful Dowdle.
That's ironic because Mike McCarthy and Jerry Jones both praised Dowdle's running style after the RB's career game against the Giants.
Jerry Jones, Mike McCarthy gave solution to Cowboys RB conundrum by praising Rico Dowdle.
If it's so beautiful why don't you want to see more of it, coach? Dowdle's been far more efficient than Pollard this season. The South Carolina product has averaged 4.4 yards per carry this season and outgained Pollard by 24 yards (and a touchdown) in Week 10 despite seeing three fewer carries.
Furthermore, Dowdle is averaging 3.19 yards after contact per attempt compared to Pollard's 2.7 yards after contact per rush, per Pro Football Focus. Dowdle's nine forced missed tackles are only three behind Pollard's 12. Care to guess how many more carries Pollard has taken this season? A whopping 88.
Jerry Jones has loved what he's seen from Dowdle, too.
"He’s a violent runner. He runs with great skill. … I’m so proud for him. He’s finally put together the running back he can be. He’s outstanding. It just really gives us a 1-2 punch in there"
"He runs so damn angry."
"He's a violent runner."
McCarthy and Jones answered their own question. Dowdle's violent and flammable running style is exactly what the Cowboys' offense needs. That's no knock on Pollard, but there have been too many instances this season when Dallas was stuck in 2nd or 3rd and long because Pollard was stuffed for a short gain.
Dowdle just runs a little different and he's made the most of his opportunities at every turn, including against the Giants. His 12 carries for 79 yards and a TD was just the latest indicator that he deserves more opportunities in the future.
If McCarthy and Jones are searching for ways to get the running game off the ground, they should just listen to -- or read -- their postgame praise of Dowdle.