Jerry Jones has jokes.
Reacting to the big performance from backup running back Tony Pollard, Jones uttered a quip that starter Ezekiel Elliott — still holding out — won’t soon forget (until he signs his new contract).
“Who? Now Zeke who?” Jones laughed to reporters.
Per the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins: “After reporters started laughing, a smiling Jones motioned at a television camera and said in a message to Elliott, ‘we’re having some fun, not at your expense.'”
As reported Saturday, Elliott returned to Dallas after skipping the rigors of training camp for the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, where he reportedly reduced his weight to the low 220s — the lightest he’s been since 2016.
WFAA’s Mike Leslie tweeted, upon the news of Elliott’s arrival home, that the sides “remain optimistic [a deal] will get done soon.” Elliott’s camp has maintained the reigning rushing champion won’t play without a new contract.
The two-time NFL rushing champion is scheduled to earn $3.853 million in base salary in 2019, the penultimate year of his rookie pact.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Pollard Adeptly Replacing Zeke
He won’t usurp Elliott for the RB1 job, obviously, but the rookie fourth-round draft pick is certainly taking the sting away from his absence, the James Conner to Elliott’s Le’Veon Bell, if you will.
Starting for the second straight preseason game, Pollard led the Cowboys with 42 yards on five carries, scoring on a 14-yard first-quarter scamper. He also added a nine-yard reception in an outing that earned rave reviews from Jones, who hinted that Pollard and Zeke could soon share a field.
“What’s amazing for him is to come in here and he hadn’t done that much,” he said, per Watkins. “He knows exactly what to do and he knows how to do it. If he goes out there and he plays to that level he’s going to be (at) for the next several weeks, he’s going to be right in the middle of it early. That will really complement what we’re doing with Zeke, not replace that, I mean that, not replace it. Nobody is getting cute here, certainly be a great compliment to have a great running game where I can picture those guys (having) success at the same time out there really giving the defense some fits.”
But Don’t Get Carried Away …
This is — and will be — Elliott’s backfield when he makes his triumphant re-entrance to team headquarters. The drop-off in talent from him to Pollard, good as he’s showing, is … well, it needs no further explanation, really.
This became a topic of conversation on Dallas’ fourth offensive play, when Pollard whiffed in pass protection, causing quarterback Dak Prescott to absorb a hard sack. Jones channeled his inner Bill Parcells in essentially cautioning not to put the Memphis product in Canton just yet.
“I will say this, that was a critical blitz pickup that got our quarterback killed,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “Now you got to be able to make that block.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL