Even going back to his college days at Memphis, Tony Pollard has never been a featured back. He's had to share reps. With him stepping into the lead running back role now, will things really change much for him? Is there more to it mentally? More pressure? Or is it just simply touching the ball 25-30 times a game instead of 10-15, no big deal? – Will Preston/Oklahoma City, OK
Nick Eatman: I think Pollard needs some help to carry the load - in fact, all backs need that help, in my opinion. Gone are the days when Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders carried it 30 times a game. It's just not smart for anyone, the backs, the offense and also the game-planning. It's better to have 2-3 backs who can come in and mix up the rhythm. As for Pollard, I think the Cowboys will use someone like Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle and maybe Ronald Jones if he's on the team after his suspension. Again, none of those guys are locks to make the roster. But it has to be someone, and preferably someone who can pick up short-yardage plays. Another factor with Pollard is the pass protection. It doesn't count as a carry, but collisions with blitzing linebackers definitely can take its toll on the body as well. All in all, Pollard will need another back or two to help get this thing done.
Mickey: Oh, I think if he touches the ball 25 to 30 times a game that will be a big deal and huge adjustment. To me, if he's touching the ball that many times you might start getting diminishing returns, and you lose the surprise speed factor. I would think 15 to 20 touches a game would be just about right. That is why finding the second running back and carving out a suitable role for Deuce Vaughn will be imperative to keep from overloading Pollard, especially early coming off his significant surgery. And remember, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to say they have not shut the door on an Ezekiel Elliott return for a reduced role. But in the meantime, keep an eye on the competition between Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle for the backup role.