FRISCO, Texas – Skip Peete's first impression of the Ezekiel Elliott-Tony Pollard tandem in Dallas:
248 combined rushing yards, 6.9 yards per carry and three combined touchdowns in the Cowboys' 44-21 dominant win over the LA Rams back in December. For the first time in franchise history, the Cowboys had fielded two 100-yard rushers in two separate games during a season.
Peete, the Rams' running backs coach last season, watched it all from the AT&T Stadium sideline.
"They hurt us really bad in that game," he said.
Peete is now the Cowboys' running back coach for the second time in his career. His first time through Dallas (2007-12) he inherited a productive running back committee featuring Marion Barber and Julius Jones and later oversaw DeMarco Murray's development into a go-to option.
Peete and the Cowboys' offensive staff – largely a new group under head coach Mike McCarthy with the exception of holdover assistants Kellen Moore and Doug Nussmeier – have yet to dive into personnel evaluations this offseason. But Elliott's credentials as a featured back are well known league wide.
"Obviously I saw him up close when we played here in December. Very explosive, talented player, exciting to watch," Peete said. "I'm excited to have an opportunity to work with him. It should be a lot of fun."
Peete has coached Pro Bowl caliber backs at each of his NFL stops: Barber and Murray in Dallas and Oakland's Charlie Garner in the early 2000s – a stretch that included a Super Bowl appearance by the Raiders in 2002.
Most recently, Peete coached Rams star Todd Gurley for four seasons (2016-19), including Gurley's two Pro Bowl years in 2017 and 2018. Elliott and Gurley have been among the league's elite during that stretch.
"Those guys have a little bit different style, but both very, very talented," Peete said.
The Cowboys are also excited about Pollard's potential as a complement to Elliott. Last year's fourth-round pick played only 18 percent of the offensive snaps, but he still posted 455 rushing yards and flashed big-play potential with a pair of 100-yard performances against the Rams and Dolphins.
"He's an exciting runner, explosive. I'm really looking forward to working with him," Peete said.
"I think it's going to be a good combination of two talented running backs in the backfield. I'm excited to get a chance to work with them and see where this goes."