Has Tony Pollard Proved He Should Start Over Ezekiel Elliott?
Since Tony Pollard completely dominated against the Chicago Bears while Ezekiel Elliott was out, did he earn the right to start over the former Ohio State star?
Ezekiel Elliott was a force to be reckoned with at Ohio State. The same was true when he got to the pros after being drafted number 4 overall in the 2016 NFL draft. Five years in and things have changed. His production has definitely declined over the past few years, while Tony Pollard seems to be flourishing.
Should the Dallas Cowboys start Tony Pollard over Ezekiel Elliott?
In my opinion, based on performances from both in the past few years, I say yes. Here's why.
The fact remains that Elliott has not been the same running back in the past few years. Yes, Zeke has been a bit banged up and the offensive line hasn't exactly been stellar. But, Pollard is running behind the same offensive line and is just simply producing better numbers every time he touches the ball.
Yes, Elliott is a 3-time pro bowler. But he hasn't been to the pro bowl since 2019. He barely got over 1000 yards last year and the year before that he didn't even crack the 1000-yard mark.
Meanwhile Elliott's backup, Tony Pollard continues to get better every year and is a monster threat with his speed and hands. To put in perspective, since 2020, Pollard ranks 7th among running backs with 2,239 all-purpose yards. In 2021, Pollard averaged 5.5 yards per carry compared to Elliott's 4.2 yards per carry.
When is the last time we saw Zeke do something like this?
Heck, even Pro Football Focus, which analyzes fantasy football, gave Pollard the highest rushing grade for any running back in the NFL with a 90.3 rating to Elliott's 68.9.
Yep, that's a 90.3 for a backup running back. Crazy, right?
In this last game against the Chicago Bears, Tony Pollard got the start as Zeke was out with an injury. How did Pollard do? Oh, he rushed for 137 yards on 14 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. That's all.
Don't get me wrong, I like Ezekiel Elliott. Always have. But his performance over the past few years hasn't been that good. Tony Pollard's performance has.