Rather than bog down in semantics, titles or timeshare talks, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones alluded to the team’s two-headed backfield as such: Ezekiel Elliott the body punches to Tony Pollard’s proverbial knockout blow.
“The toll Zeke takes on the defense with his power, that’s very impactful,” Jones said during a Tuesday, December 21 radio interview on 105.3 The Fan, via USA Today’s Jori Epstein. “Not finesse but hard-nosed football we’re trying to establish.”
Jones — who one year ago claimed Elliott is Dallas’ best player — does not consider his $90 million investment inferior to Pollard despite an obvious discrepancy in explosion and game-busting ability, qualities on display in Sunday’s 21-6 win over the New York Giants.
Pollard led the way on the ground (74 rushing yards; 6.2 yards per carry) as the Cowboys collected 23 first downs and controlled the ball for more than half (33:23) of the contest. This, while dealing with a painful plantar fascia injury in his left foot.
To Elliott’s credit, however, he found the end zone on a 13-yard first-quarter scamper and generally appeared healthier, taking a team-high 16 attempts for 52 yards. Elliott, of course, has been hampered by a right knee issue, for which he’s donning a brace.
“I think Zeke’s kind of turned the corner there,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said in his December 19 postgame press conference, via the Dallas Morning News. “I think the brace, as he said, makes it more stable.”
ALL the latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!
Jerry Updates Tyron’s Status
The Cowboys’ offensive line was, to say the least, shaky against the Giants, surrendering three sacks and seven hits on quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott regularly faced pressure off the edges, due largely to the absence of star left tackle Tyron Smith, inactive with an ankle injury.
During his radio interview, Jones intimated it’s too soon to tell whether Smith could start Week 16 versus Washington though virtually assured the eight-time Pro Bowler will return for the playoffs.
“I’m very optimistic (about) Tyron. I don’t know about this week, but I certainly don’t rule it out at all. For the longer haul, I’m very optimistic,” Jones said December 21 on 105.3 The Fan.
He added: “There’s no one more incrementally valuable to us than Tyron Smith. He makes a very huge, significant difference in how we execute in the offensive line.”
With Smith sidelined, the Cowboys opted for a rotation on Prescott’s blindside, mixing and matching Terence Steele and Ty Neskhe — a combination that McCarthy “liked.”
“It was something we talked about during the course of the week and I think it’s something that was beneficial for both guys,” McCarthy said December 20, via the official team website. “I think Terence was 40-plus reps and I think Ty came in at about 28. I liked the way it worked out and I thought it was a good changeup for the other side to deal with. I think it was good to play both of those guys.”
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Pollard Good to Go for Stretch Run
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Pollard’s malady sounds scarier than it actually is. He’s able to play through the tear in his foot, a matter of pain tolerance more than anything else. And so he will.
“Probably just load management throughout the week at practice,” Pollard told reporters on December 19, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “As far as game day, I think I should be pretty good from here on out.”
Buoyed by Pollard’s third-year emergence, the Cowboys currently boast the NFL’s sixth-best rushing offense, averaging 128.2 yards per game.