Skip to main content

Pollard ready to be Cowboys RB1: 'The time is now'


FRISCO, Texas — A lot is going to be called in Week 1, and Tony Pollard promises to haul it every time his phone rings. For the first time in his career with the Dallas Cowboys, and for the first time since his days at Melrose High School in Memphis, the former fourth-round pick will be the lead running back for an offense; and he's bursting at the seams for the chance.

"I've been ready for this moment," said Pollard, his full-time RB1 debut only days away. "The time is now."

The 26-year-old enters this season under the franchise tag and hoping to not only help the Cowboys turn the corner in the playoffs, and to prove he's back to prime form after suffering a season-ending fractured ankle in January, but to also potentially earn a multi-year deal in 2024.

It all begins on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium with the entire world watching.

"I'm very excited," he said. "I'm ready for the challenge, to be the lead back and show what I can do."

There will be no shortage of storylines for the Cowboys and Giants on Sunday evening, but all eyes will be glued to Pollard and Dallas' offense on each and every play, and for good reason.

It marks the first time since 2016 that Ezekiel Elliott isn't on the roster, in addition to the other aforementioned firsts, and combines with changes at running backs coach, offensive line coach, offensive coordinator and play-caller this offseason.

That's a lot of moving parts but, for his part, Pollard is simply focused on his assignment(s).

"A lot of opportunities, a lot of touches and a lot of involvement in the game," he said of being the feature back in Dallas. "I'm ready to make an impact. I'm good. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I'm good and ready to go."

That includes a continued emphasis on pass protection — something Pollard has consistently improved upon since entering the league in 2019. As for those outside of the building who claim they haven't seen it, the Memphis native has but one thing to say.

"Cut on the film," he said. "I've got plenty of film picking up blocks and picking up pressures."

And against a Giants defense that led the league in called blitzes last season, his ability to keep Dak Prescott clean will be put to a major test.

"It's critical to the success of the team and to the offense – making sure the RB, QB and O-line are on the same page with protections and pickups," said Pollard. "We'll have extra meetings on the sideline to make sure we see things the same, that we're all [identifying] it all the same so that we're on the same page."

The process of taking on the role atom the RB totem also involves putting in added work on conditioning, and Pollard has done anything but slack in that arena.

From the first practice in Oxnard through his work in Frisco leading into the season opener, Pollard has put in extra work with the goal of making sure his body, and lungs, are fully prepared for the workload to come.

"A lot of conditioning, more work on endurance and working on my stamina — being able to be in there a little while longer," he explained. "I'm just trying to make sure I'm still explosive and that I have my power, and all of that. … Working with Britt [Brown] on the bands this summer, in the heat and blazing sun. Running sprints and metabolics; and doing a lot of different things."

For reference, since returning from Oxnard, Pollard's outside routine has been subject to what has officially been labeled as the hottest August on record in North Texas.

And if Pollard and the Cowboys' offense can match serve with the championship-level defense, it might also be the hottest football season on record in Dallas; at least since the mid-1990s.


Related Content