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Mailbag: Future HOF? Pollard In Deebo-Type Role?


With DeMarcus Ware not being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, what chances does Jason Witten have of a first ballot and do Tony Romo and Dez Bryant even have a chance to make it? — RANSOM MCINTIRE / EL PASO, TX

Rob: Witten ranks fourth all-time in NFL receptions and top-20 in receiving yards, so I think he's got a great chance at first ballot. Then again, I thought Ware was getting elected last week. It's just a matter of time for both guys. Romo and Dez? Both have strong credentials for Cowboys Ring of Honor, in my opinion. Canton is a different beast, as we've seen for greats like Darren Woodson and Everson Walls. If Romo had gotten a Super Bowl, I think his chances would've been greatly enhanced. We're already hearing Hall of Fame speculation for Matthew Stafford since the Rams won Sunday night.

David: I'm with Rob. I was shocked that D-Ware didn't make it on the first effort. I think Witten has a first ballot type of resume, but I guess you never know for sure. Even still, it's a matter of "when," not "if" for both guys. I think Romo and Dez are both eventual locks for the Ring of Honor, which would boost their HOF credentials. Even still, I don't feel confident about either one of them. I think Romo has a better chance because he is building an impressive broadcasting career to go along with his playing days. With all of the amazing receivers breaking out in this pass-happy league, I'm just not sure Dez was good enough for long enough to make it to Canton.

I read recently that CeeDee Lamb is eyeing a Deebo Samuel type role next year. While expanding CeeDee's play to include plays out of the backfield and runs after the catch is a great idea, I think the player with the physical characteristics to make more plays like Deebo is the drastically underused Tony Pollard. He's tough enough to run between the tackles and has the speed to get to the edge and also has the wideout skills and is a threat to go the distance on any play. What do you think? — JOHN WALKER / LAGO VISTA, TX

Rob: I'm a little hesitant to say the "wide back" role is going to take off around the league because Deebo Samuel is a very unique player. How many guys are built to get 70-plus catches in a season plus run between the tackles on a semi-consistent basis? I do think they can find ways to get CeeDee Lamb the ball more, and your point about Pollard is well taken. We heard a lot about his receiving ability coming out of Memphis but in three seasons his role has been more of a change-of-pace runner behind Zeke than that do-everything skill player, though he did have a career-high 39 catches last season.

David: We've been talking about Tony Pollard needing to touch the ball more since 2019, and everyone seems to recognize is except the people making those decisions. I'm not sure what else we can say about it, other than that it's past time for Pollard to have a bigger role. It's fair to point out that he was dealing with an injured foot in the home stretch of the season, but he averaged just 11 touches per game on offense over the course of the year. And after taking Week 18 off to rest his foot, he managed just six touches in the playoff loss. That's brutal. It's something I'd love to see improved upon in 2022, but I feel like I've been saying that for quite some time.

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