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Mailbag: Let Pollard be change-of-pace back?


Tony Pollard excelled when coming in as that change-of-pace back behind a bulldozer in Ezekiel Elliott. So why not use Rico Dowdle as that heavy hitter and let Pollard come in behind him to do what he does best? Or is it truly just the offensive line's play that hasn't allowed Pollard the gaps to hit? – James Davidson/Des Moines, IA

Nick Harris: I'm not sure that the personnel in the running back room allows for Tony Pollard to be the change-of-pace back, although I do see what you're getting at with Rico Dowdle instead being the big load back. I just don't think Dowdle can be as effective in that role similar to what we're seeing with Pollard so far in 2023. Both are great complimentary backs, and there is nothing wrong with that. I would keep it as is moving forward and just work to find some consistency in the run game with Pollard, whether that be with increased momentum in the offensive line group or more creativity in the run game.

Patrik: So here's where I am with this: the RB1 will always get the brunt of the ire from fans and the RB2 will always, eventually, be given all of the roses; but when the players change roles, as will the assignment of ire and roses. Here's what I mean: Ezekiel Elliott vs. Tony Pollard, Julius Jones vs. Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray vs. Joseph Randle, etc. etc. The problem is the expectation that comes with being RB1. Pollard now has to do all of the heavy lifting and dirty work and it begins to wear on a lead back as the season rolls along. That's why Dowdle looks so much fresher on his runs than does Pollard. The best formula here is to try and get them to a 50/50 split or near it or, better still, alternate their starts to keep both fresh for the long run, considering their styles aren't much different from one another. If you do that, you'll see more explosiveness from Pollard without sacrificing much, if any, of it from Dowdle. Oh, by the way, yes, the offensive line flux to this point has created some of the issues as well, so hopefully that gets ironed out.

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