Lack of hype around Cowboys RBs at OTAs and minicamp is concerning

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys are taking a very cautious approach when it comes to the ramp-up for starting running back Tony Pollard, which is a smart thing to do. The problem is that the team has been very quiet about the rest of their running backs on the roster.

They signed Ronald Jones in the offseason, resigned Rico Dowdle, and drafted Deuce Vaughn in an effort to add talent in a backfield that no longer has Ezekiel Elliott at the helm.

Now that Elliott is gone, the Cowboys know they have an explosive running back that is a dual threat in Pollard, but outside of that what do we really know about the rest of the group? So far from the reports out of minicamp, nothing that can really give fans confidence in what they currently have.

On Wednesday, Mike McCarthy praised Pollard for the leadership role he's taken with the team and that he really likes the young guys. If that's the best you can say about your running back group then obviously he doesn't feel confident in what he has and for good reason.

Another talking point that came from McCarthy's press conference was the fact that the offense was going to rely more on their running backs in pass protection, a role that now former starter Elliott was very good at, compared to Pollard and the rest of the group.

When you go back and look at how well the Cowboys' current roster fared in pass protection it leaves a lot to be desired outside of Pollard, who actually graded out higher than Elliott last season. Here's what Pro Football Focus graded Dallas' current stable of running backs in their ability to pass protect.


2022 Pass Blocking Snaps

2022 Pass Blocking Grades

Tony Pollard



Deuce Vaughn



Ronald Jones



Malik Davis



Rico Dowdle



Lack of buzz around Cowboys RB room is concerning

The simple fact that the Cowboys are looking to the running backs to protect their franchise quarterback with a group of players who aren't effective in that area other than Pollard is quite concerning. They're opening themselves up to well-timed and all-out blitzes from defenses that know these running backs aren't good in this area.

Maybe Dallas is hoping that when the pads come on these players who haven't shown an ability to hold up in pass protection will step up and prove them wrong. Maybe they are working the phone lines in order to secure a trade or free agent signing that will land them a running back that can give them something on the field from an offensive standpoint but more importantly, someone who will protect Prescott if Pollard isn't on the field.

That could be the reason for the rumors that have them looking into signing now-former Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, a player that coach McCarthy has seen up close numerous times during his time in Green Bay.

Adding Cook would give them a nice one-two punch but knowing this front office, the price tag would be the main factor that keeps them from making the move. They could wait for teams to make final cuts and pluck a running back off the waiver wire, but they risk the chance of losing out on a player they really like.

So the most likely option in this instance seems to be the Cowboys circling back around to Ezekiel Elliott -- whose price tag is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day -- giving them a running back they know can block better than what they currently have, but also gives them an effective short-yardage and goal-line weapon.

Until this team starts to give us more on the status of their running backs, this question is going to continue to come up for Dallas and concerns about what happens if Pollard gets hurt again will continue to linger in the back of everyone's minds.

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