FRISCO, Texas – When the Patriots roll into AT&T Stadium for Sunday's game, rest assured there will be one running back, motivated more than ever, looking to make a statement.
Oh, and Ezekiel Elliott will probably have the same mantra as well.
Because while this game is being touted as a homecoming of sorts for Zeke, let's not forget what Tony Pollard will be feeling on the other side of the field.
Pollard is the reason the Cowboys decided to part ways with Zeke this offseason, focusing on him to be the No. 1 running back in their system.
If there were any doubts about the move, it was a concern that the smaller Pollard could handle a heavy workload as the No.1 back.
Three games into the season, Pollard leads the NFL in carries with 62. So what does that mean?
"It means I can handle it," Pollard said on Wednesday, rather bluntly when asked. "I mean, I'm feeling great right now. I'm not have a problem with anything nagging me (injury-wise). I'm ready to go. Whatever they call, I've got."
Pollard said the role as the No. 1 back is different, but the mindset hasn't changed.
"I'm the same guy. I've been the same guy since I came in Day One," Pollard said. "I just look at it as on the field, my opportunities have increased. But I'm the same guy."
With 62 carries and 12 receptions, Pollard's 74 touches in three games is quite the contrast to his previous workload. Last year, Pollard needed seven games to get to that number. As a rookie in 2019, Pollard needed 14 games before getting to 75 touches for the season.
But that was mainly attributed to the fact Elliott was on the team. Now, Pollard prepares to face him on the other side.
Pollard said the two running backs have traded some "silly" text messages back and forth this week, but nothing too serious about the game.
But things will definitely get intense come Sunday, especially with the Cowboys looking to avoid a two-game losing streak.
Pollard said the focus for the offense is to figure out to fix the red-zone woes that have plagued them the last two weeks.
"We've got to be more disciplined. It starts with the penalties," Pollard said We've got to eliminate those and then be better when we execute. We can't kill ourselves with penalties and things like that."
If the Cowboys can avoid the setbacks, Pollard and the offense should be able to flourish once again.