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Zeke & Pollard Have Different Style But Same Goal


FRISCO, Texas The phrase "two is better than one" rarely ever ends up being exactly the case in reality for most situations. For example, if you have two quarterbacks on your roster, then you might not have any quarterback.

Or at least that's another phrase that is thrown around in football circles.

But what about two running backs? Like, two legitimate game-changing running backs? One, a two-time NFL rushing champion that was a first-round pick on his second contract. The other, enjoying a breakout season after getting the bulk of the work at the expense of the more established veteran.

Some say that might cause issues between the two players in question when it comes to the egos that exist in an NFL locker room. But there is one caveat in this case - that isn't an issue for the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

When Elliott missed two games earlier this season with a knee sprain that he suffered against the Lions, the Cowboys naturally handed the keys over to Pollard in the backfield. And he drove it like a stolen car, rushing for 246 yards and four touchdowns before Elliott returned against the Vikings.

On Sunday the three-time Pro Bowler in Elliott notched two key touchdowns, just as he did his last time on the field in Week 7 while continuing to be excellent in his pass-blocking. This time around Pollard did his work in the pass-catching game, racking up two touchdowns and 109 yards to go with his 80 yards on the ground.

If further proof is necessary to illustrate just how ridiculous Pollard has been overall this season, he has 944 total yards from the line of scrimmage this season. That surpasses names like Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, and Jaylen Waddle.

But with Pollard rounding into form and coming into his own in Elliott's absence, the question must be asked - how does Elliott handle splitting time with Pollard after years as the focal point of the Cowboys' offense?

It's not all that difficult apparently.

"Not at all," Elliott said. "I think we all have the same goal - go out there and win football games. However we have to do that, that's what matters. So no way."

It's not a shocking response from Elliott, a guy who is revered by his teammates in the locker room for his leadership. All-Pro guard Zack Martin cemented that though just a week ago when asked about Elliott's eventual return to the field, identifying him as the "identity of our football time" and praised his "willingness to do anything asked of him."

Pollard echoed that thought on Tuesday when asked how well he thought Elliott had handled his success at his own expense. "It shows how selfless of a player he is," Pollard said. "How much he is 'team first.' Everything he does is about the team and that's the perfect example."

And just for good measure, Dak Prescott brought the point down the final stretch when he was presented with the same question on Tuesday. "Zeke cares about this team's overall success," Prescott said. "He just cares about winning."

Together the backfield duo have become the perfectly balanced two-headed monster, with Pollard assuming the role of explosive plays and slicing through defenses, while Elliott continues to punch them in mouth in short-yardage situations and timely scores.

That was the case against the Vikings, scoring all four of the Cowboys' touchdowns in that 40-3 onslaught. That level of teamwork and effectiveness has not gone unnoticed from the Cowboys' ultimate leader, either.

"Just the willingness to not only share playing time," Prescott said, "but to encourage each other in that playing time and to be each other's biggest support and fan, honestly. [They're] two different guys in the way that they produce on the field… One guy being a bruiser, and another guy being shifty, the defense doesn't really know what's coming at them."

"It's tough on defenses to defend the two different styles," Elliott said. "You get used to one style and the next thing you know, another fresh running back is coming in."

Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

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