HONOLULU – This hype train is gaining steam.
There will be a million storylines to come out of this preseason win in Hawaii, and all of them are worth discussing. But it’s plain and obvious that all of them are lagging behind what could only be described as the Tony Pollard Express.
Yes, Tony Pollard is dominating the conversation after a 14-10 win against the L.A. Rams, and for good reason. The rookie running back followed up a 16-yard performance in the preseason opener in a big way, tallying six touches for 51 total yards and a touchdown on Saturday night.
If Pollard’s performance didn’t convince you in its own right, take it from Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who playfully asked the question: “Zeke Who?”
Now, to be perfectly clear, Jones was joking when he was asked if Pollard could help negotiate his ongoing contract dispute with Ezekiel Elliott, who is still holding out in search of a new deal.
But after watching Pollard cut his way to 8.4 yards per carry, it doesn’t sound as silly as it used to.
“The O-Line did great,” Pollard said. “It was really open, I was just running through what they did for me. Luckily, I was able to get in the end zone.”
Pollard’s 14-yard score was the highlight of a 97-yard drive for the first-team offense. Taking the handoff from Dak Prescott, he tucked past a block on the edge and followed Travis Frederick and Xavier Su’a-Filo into the second level. From there, he squeezed between a pair of Rams safeties and bulled his way into the end zone for the opening points of the game.
As fun as the run was, the variety of Pollard’s touches were exciting. He carried the rock five times, but he also managed a nine-yard reception and would’ve had another if not for an untimely penalty.
“It’s just like playing football in the backyard, really,” Pollard said. “It’s just on a bigger level. More people watching now.”
That’d be an understatement by the rookie. There were 50,000 people at Aloha Stadium and countless more watching on TV who are now well-familiar with a new Cowboys running back..
And yes, it’s worth pointing out that the Rams were without virtually their entire starting defense. Pollard was not doing his damage against Aaron Donald or Mike Brockers, and it’d be crazy to suggest the Cowboys have forgotten about Elliott.
But there’s been hype surrounding Pollard since the moment he was drafted. The Cowboys sang his praises throughout the spring, and they wasted no time ushering him into the starting lineup when Elliott didn’t report to camp.
Even if it’s just a small sample size, Saturday made it obvious why.
“That’s the playmaker – TP Playmaker,” said Michael Gallup with a smile. “That’s what he’s going to do for us.”