Tony Pollard’s rapidly rising star and expanded role with the Dallas Cowboys hasn’t bothered Ezekiel Elliott one bit.
Pollard has exploded this season, proving to be one of — if not the — most explosive weapons in the Cowboys’ arsenal during a 7-3 start, doing damage both running and catching the ball. He’s approaching 1,000 yards from scrimmage, with 701 rushing yards, 243 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns.
Elliott has been a workhorse over his career and many veterans would be upset about seeing their touch total diminished by the emergence of another back. However, Elliott has been very supportive of his partnership with Pollard and gushed over his backfield buddy on Tuesday.
“It’s tough on defenses to defend the two different styles,” Elliott said. “You get used to one style and the next thing you know, another fresh running back is coming in.”
So, is it hard to split the work?
“Not at all,” Elliott said. “I think we all have the same goal – go out there and win football games. However we have to do that, that’s what matters. So no way.”
Elliott Lauded For Team-First Approach
Pollard has also had some praise for Elliott, who he says sets the tone for the team’s approach to winning.
“How much he is ‘team first.’ Everything he does is about the team and that’s the perfect example,” Pollard said.
The split was perfectly balanced against the Vikings in a 40-3 romp against the then 8-1 Vikings. Each back had 15 carries, Elliott grinded his way to two touchdowns and Pollard racked up 189 scrimmage yards with a pair of scores.
“Just the willingness to not only share playing time,” quarterback Dak Prescott said, “but to encourage each other in that playing time and to be each other’s biggest support and fan, honestly. [They’re] two different guys in the way that they produce on the field… One guy being a bruiser, and another guy being shifty, the defense doesn’t really know what’s coming at them.”
Elliott Not Worried About Future With Cowboys
Maybe the elephant in the room is how much Elliott is making. He’s on a $90 million deal he signed in 2019, which is still the richest for a running back in terms of total value. His $15 million per year is surpassed only by 49ers running back Christan McCaffery.
While it has led to some discussion about his future, Elliott is focused firmly on this season. If the Cowboys keep winning, he feels it will take care of itself.
“I think it is a big season, but I think you can’t look too far down the road,” Elliott said earlier this season. ’I’m ready to make a run in the playoffs, I’m ready to go deep and get a shot at that Super Bowl. Focus on getting better every week, taking the right steps to get to that point.
“I think everything will handle itself. I think if I handle my business every day, then I’ll be in a pretty good situation at the end of the season.”
Jerry Jones and others have complimented Elliott at every turn, citing that he’s essential to the Cowboys. While some critics have called for his release, it would appear more likely that the sides decide to restructure the deal.