FRISCO, Texas — Going into the final game of the regular season, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard sits well behind his previous season totals in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns despite taking over as the lead back in 2023 and controlling most of the running game responsibilities throughout the year.
While it hasn't been what was expected coming into the season, Pollard reflected on his year on Wednesday in admitting that it wasn't the year he had pinned for himself, but that there is still room for improvement available.
"I thought I would probably have a better year than I am now," Pollard said. "Where we are as far as playoffs and rankings, I couldn't complain with everything in front of us. I would say just trying to get more at-bats at the plate. Get more repetition for the o-line and get a feel for how the defense is playing things and getting into a rhythm."
The team's success has allowed Pollard to find a big positive in 2023, as he knows a big jump in his pass protection has also allowed for a healthier pass game. Moving forward, while he would like to see an uptick in his own production, he is complacent as long as the team continues to win.
"Praying at night, talking to God," he said about what he does amid a bad stretch. "Just keeping my mental right. Talking with my family. Keeping my circle tight and good and just being locked in is the main thing."
Despite averaging 4.0 yards per carry – which is a solid year by normal standards – is a decline from the 5.2 and 5.5 he averaged in 2022 and 2021, respectively. For him, that's the standard he expects from himself.
"I hold myself to a higher standard," he said. "I try to be my hardest critic and my hardest judge before anybody else can. So I'm always hard on myself."
However, all things aren't a lost cause in the running game in Pollard's mind, as he knows one big game can rewrite his season narrative – especially if it comes in a big moment in the playoffs.
"I would say you're pretty much what you are," Pollard said. "At this point, it's just about executing and everybody getting on the same page. It's one game at a time, so one game can definitely get everything going."