The Dallas Cowboys could have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL during the 2022 season. While they had some departures at the wide receiver position, leaving them a little thin behind CeeDee Lamb, the rest of the offense is loaded with talent.
If they can get the offensive line figured out, as Tyron Smith is going to miss extended time again, this offense is going to be able to produce some impressive numbers. A big reason for that is they have one of the best running back duos in the NFL.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard ensure that an opposing defense will never get a break when it comes to the running game. Both can get the job done as ball carries or pass catchers out of the backfield.
Elliott started all 17 games last season, rushing for 1,002 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 47 passes for 287 yards and two more scores. Pollard’s role wasn’t as big, as he was the change of pace back and played only 30 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, but he made the most of them.
The Memphis product ran for 719 yards and two touchdowns in a supporting role. He added 39 receptions for 337 yards, oftentimes looking like the more explosive option between the two. This season, he could have more opportunities to showcase his talent.
Head coach Mike McCarthy discussed the plan for his running backs during his press conference on Wednesday. He believes each of them can handle a full workload and views them as a tandem heading into the season for the Cowboys.
“Oh I think they both hold their own,” McCarthy said. “I look at both of those guys as No. 1 runners, or however you want to categorize it. Tony can play. I think when you look at running backs — I know how I define them — [it’s about] their ability to play on all three downs, and Zeke and Tony both have that ability. Zeke’s done it his whole career. So I think they’re definitely a tandem and that’s obviously a focal point for us.”
It will be interesting to see how McCarthy and his offensive coaches divvy up snaps and touches between Elliott and Pollard throughout the season. They will likely be relied upon more in the early going with the wide receivers so banged up, but after that, McCarthy could ride the hot hand.
Both will certainly be involved in the weekly game plan, but it would not be shocking to see this turn into a 50/50 timeshare. Alas, this is likely a one-year plan, as the running back position could look drastically different in 2023 than it does right now.
Elliott has no guaranteed money remaining on his deal beyond this year, while Pollard is playing out the final season of his rookie contract. One of, if not both of them, could be elsewhere next season depending on how the team’s salary cap situation looks.