It’s tough for any team to face off against one of the top rush defenses in the NFL. Offenses must become more creative in how to work around them. Lucky for the Dallas Cowboys, having a versatile running back like Tony Pollard means they can do more with him than just run the ball.
The first question must come as to why Tony Pollard hasn’t been getting the ball as much as maybe he should. Last season, he was averaging 11 touches per game last season. While this season he is averaging 10.75 touches per game through four games. While it’s not a major game, it does show an interesting story of seeing a decrease even though Cooper Rush is playing who is considered more of a “game manager”.
Pollard has been missing in two games this season where he had eight touches for 22 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and nine touches for eight yards against the Washington Commanders last week. A lot of that has to do with the fact that both of those defenses are great against the run. Some of that also has to do with the game plan and play calling coming from Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
The bad news is Pollard and company are facing off against the Los Angeles Rams who are sixth in the NFL in rush defense allowing under 100 yards rushing a game. This means that the game plan may not be so reliant as much on the run as the Cowboys would hope. It may have to fall on Rush to carry the offense in the passing game. At least that’s what Moore is going to be thinking.
When a team has a player like Pollard who can do a lot for your offense, there are creative ways to utilize him in the best possible way to create big plays for him.
More Toss Plays To The Outside
Something that was not seen enough in last week’s Washington game was not enough runs to the outside for Tony Pollard. Someone like Pollard has blazing speed so there shouldn’t be any excuses to not toss the ball to him and let him make a play on the outside. His quick feet can get him to show his elusiveness and make defenders miss.
Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern are athletic offensive linemen who can run out in front to be good blockers for Pollard. Noah Brown has good blocking skills as a receiver so take advantage of that and let him open it up for Pollard. All Pollard has to do is be patient and give those guys two seconds to open it up and his strong vision will find an opening to blitz for a big play
Put Tony Pollard At Receiver
Tony Pollard has proven to have strong hands so flexing him out at the receiver would be a good thing. He’s a good route runner as a running back so he can handle short passes that can get him in the open space. Run some quick screen passes to get him moving and find an open lane to run through.
Even if Rush isn’t looking his way, he can be a decoy on the outside to make the defense aware that he might get the ball. He would attract safeties or cornerbacks to cover him because they must respect his speed and hands. Pollard can also go block for a receiver on a screen pass himself as he has shown some improvement in his blocking skills.
Throw Short, Screen Passes To Tony Pollard
No doubt that Tony Pollard has the speed, and the offense needs to get him in the open field to make something happen with his feet. We have already seen what Pollard can do with the ball in his hands. Fans saw it in week two against the Cincinnati Bengals where Pollard caught a screen pass that went 46 yards as that play led to a touchdown.
Moore needs to get Tony Pollard out in the flats or run screen passes to let Pollard make a play. Ezekiel Elliott is not the type of back who has game-breaking speed so that’s what makes Pollard so great. Short passes are Tony Pollard’s main strength that can not only open up the offense but give Rush confidence throughout the game.