Cowboys’ Tony Pollard ‘very excited’ to be team’s starting running back: ‘Ready for the challenge’
Tony Pollard is entering his fifth season with the Dallas Cowboys. He was named to his first Pro Bowl last season, although he had to share carries with two-time All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Pollard still managed a career-best 1,378 yards from scrimmage and nine rushing touchdowns.
The 26-year-old’s season came to a screeching halt when he broke his fibula during the Cowboys’ playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Dallas opens the season against the Giants Sept. 10. When the game kicks off, Pollard will be “RB1” for the Cowboys.
Pollard expressed excitement about transitioning to a new role for 2023.
“Yeah, I’m very excited, ready for the challenge and ready to be the lead back, so I can show what I can do,” Pollard said Wednesday.
The running back also provided an update on his health heading into the season opener.
“I’m good physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m good. I’m ready to go,” Pollard said.
Splitting carries in a backfield is something Pollard has done multiple times throughout his career. He shared carries with former Rams running back Darrell Henderson during his college days with the Memphis Tigers.
Patrick Taylor helped handle ball carrier duties with Pollard during their time together on the Green Bay Packers practice squad. Pollard played with Elliott four seasons in Dallas.
Elliott showed signs of decline last season, and the Cowboys decided to move on in March. Elliott later signed with the New England Patriots.
Elliott’s departure opened the door for Pollard’s workload to ramp up.
“A lot of opportunities, a lot of touches, a lot of involvement in the game, and I’m just ready to make an impact from a physical standpoint,” Pollard said. “I’m not exactly sure [about his touches total for 2023]. I can’t really put a number on it, but I’m pretty sure it will be an increased volume. So whatever they give me, I got it.”
Brian Schottenheimer, who replaced Kellen Moore as the team’s offensive coordinator, is confident Pollard is up to the challenge this season.
“Tony is ready to running back No. 1. He’s ready to be the guy,” Schottenheimer said last month.
“There is nothing we will shy away from on a scheme standpoint with him. Like everybody, there are going to be things he’s more comfortable doing, but I have zero concerns about his body type with anything we’re doing. I just love the explosive playmaker he is.
“I love the way he works in practice. There’s a quiet confidence about him that you feel. You also feel his speed whether he’s running a toss play toward the sideline or running a route. You feel his speed. It’s real. I think there’s no question in my he’s ready for this role.”