Things have not gone quite as planned this season for Tony Pollard and the Dallas Cowboys rushing attack. The latest Cowboys rumors are swirling about whether the Cowboys will start Rico Dowdle over Pollard.
Former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus believes the coaching staff should consider starting Dowdle over Pollard against the Panthers in Week 11. Pollard has not topped 55 rushing yards in six straight games. Broaddus ponders whether Pollard is “freaked out” by moving into the Cowboys lead back role.
“They need to kind of figure out three or four running plays that they can hang their hat on,” Broaddus explained during a November 16, 2023 episode of the “Love of the Star” podcast. “And that’s why I wouldn’t be opposed to starting Rico Dowdle in this game. Just go ahead and let Rico have some success. Let the line feel a little bit better. ‘Okay, we could block this up. Maybe this is something.’ And then bring Pollard in.
“I think there’s something to Pollard being the primary back right now that’s got him freaked out. I just don’t feel like he’s seeing the holes and there are not a lot of holes. It’s not all him. But there’s times where they blocked some things up and he just hasn’t been able to get to and through the hole. He’s clearly a different looking player.”
Pollard is playing on the $10 million franchise tag for 2023. Cowboys rumors are heating up about Pollard’s future with the running back hitting free agency in 2024.
Cowboys Rumors: There Is a Push for Rico Dowdle to Emerge as the New RB1 Over Tony Pollard
It is not just that Pollard has struggled, but Dowdle is also starting to gain steam. Dowdle is coming off his best performance of the season with 12 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 10. As we have seen with Pollard, things can be a bit more challenging when becoming the RB1.
Pollard is coming off a fractured fibula sustained in January. The longtime Cowboys scout believes Pollard looks like a different player since the injury.
“We had Brian Baldinger on the radio on Wednesday [November 15], and he even said that,” Broaddus adds. “And Baldy watches the tape every week. He’s like, ‘he’s clearly not the same player.’ And we all know that.
“But maybe the thing about it is, you start Rico [and] you have some success. You beat them [Panthers] up a little bit up front. It’d be a nice game if you could find a way to build a little bit of a lead. Because it seems like teams are building leads and just running the ball on these guys.”
Mike McCarthy on Running Back Battle: ‘My Focus Is Tony Pollard as the Primary Ball Carrier’
Heading into Week 11, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Dowdle getting more carries. McCarthy praised Dowdle but emphasized that Pollard is still “the primary ball carrier.”
“We’ll see how the game goes,” McCarthy told reporters on November 16. “I’m thrilled to death with the way Rico’s playing, but I think we do an excellent job of ball distribution.
“…We’ll see how the game goes. Yeah, the game dictates that [carries]. I have no problem with Rico getting more carries and that would be great. But also my focus is Tony Pollard as far as the primary ball carrier.”