Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard and running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) will handle the ball a lot against Washington this week.

Dallas Cowboys will stay with Cooper Rush-led offense when Dak Prescott returns

Dallas Cowboys' Tony Pollard and running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) will be handling the ball a lot against Washington this week.

Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard and running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) will be handling the ball a lot against Washington this week.


Truth be told, the Dallas Cowboys entered the 2022 season hoping to build on the running game.

It was the focal point of the game plan heading into the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although they fell short of the results in a 19-3 loss that also saw them lose quarterback Dak Prescott with a broken right thumb.

While backup quarterback Cooper Rush made headlines with his consistent and surprisingly tight play in leading the Cowboys to back-to-back wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants, the key to their success on offense was been what the team has planned to do since the off-season.

Lean on the racing game using Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard as a two-headed tandem.

The Cowboys rushed 27 times for 107 yards in a 20-17 win over the Bengals that didn’t even include a 46-yard rush by Pollard on a shovel pass.

And then they rushed for 176 yards in the 23-16 win over the Giants. Pollard rushed 13 times for 105 yards, including 46 yards, and Elliott had 15 carries for 73 yards.

“We talked about it in training camp,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We needed to direct the ball better. More importantly, we needed to get more attempts at the plate. We had to stay engaged. I think we’ve definitely done that in the last two weeks.

The pitch game will be central to the game plan against Washington on Sunday.

McCarthy said the plan will be the same whenever Prescott, who passed for 4,449 yards and a team-record 37 touchdowns last season, returns — either Oct. 9 at the Los Angeles Rams or Oct. 16 at the Los Angeles Rams. Philadelphia Eagles.

“I mean Tony and Zeke are star players for us,” McCarthy said. “I don’t see us changing.”

It certainly made Rush’s life easier.

The Cowboys called 31 assists for 27 points against the Bengals and it was 30 points for 31 assists against the Giants. Elliott and Pollard had just 16 combined runs against the Buccaneers when the Cowboys fell behind and couldn’t convert on third downs to stay on the field.

McCarthy said being balanced has been the team’s winning formula, as the running game allowed Rush to operate with clean pockets in the passing game while chewing time to keep his defense off the field and rest.

“It starts with football management,” McCarthy said.

What has changed from years past and was in the plan to return to training camp is how the Cowboys use Elliott and Pollard.

They form a true tandem in 2022, rather than the former two-time running champion Elliott being named the point guard with the speedy Pollard seen as the change of pace option who often got the game’s third series.

They are often on the pitch with Pollard sometimes lined up in the slot. Elliott played fullback ahead of Pollard, who is finally being recognized as one of the team’s best playmakers and arguably their most explosive weapon in attack.

“I think it’s a winning formula,” McCarthy said. “You have two guys who are star players. They have to touch the ball, whether we throw it to them, throw it to them, hand it to them, it makes no difference to me personally.

Elliott has 43 touches for 173 yards in three games, including 40 carries for 178 yards and a rushing touchdown.

Pollard had 34 touches for 225 yards with one touchdown and one through the air, while demonstrating his explosiveness with a 46-yard run and 46-yard receive.

Granted, there are calls for Pollard to get more of the charge due to his big-play ability. It should be noted that Pollard was on the court to close out the game against the Giants.

But the Cowboys like the current cast and remain cautious about burning out Pollard, given he’s never carried a full running back load since high school.

The Cowboys want to keep him as fresh as possible so he can still get juice in his legs later in games and later in the season.

“We want those two guys hit,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said. “I think the more balanced the better week in and week out. There can be a game where one guy goes a little bit higher than the other. It can be situational. Maybe that’s how the rotation works, but we like to give the ball to these two guys.

Elliott distribution is best for the players and the team.

“One, he keeps both fresh,” Elliott said. “It’s a big thing and two, it’s two different running styles that you have to prepare against. They get used to one running style and now here is the other guy. Things have worked out pretty well.

How cool is Elliott?

“I’m fresh. I don’t know how else to explain it,” Elliott said. “I’ve probably had more touches every year than I have at this point. My body feels really good.

Elliott has averaged 21.47 rush attempts per game since his rookie year. This number is 13.33 in 2022.

The best part about it as Elliott and Pollard are each other’s biggest fans, allowing the Cowboys to use them in tandem and interchangeably at notable times.

“You can throw one guy on a streak knowing the other guy is ready to step in and some play will dictate who’s in the game,” Moore said. “Maybe it’s a Tony-specific or Zeke-specific game and on occasion we want them on the court together. I think those guys work really well together, I think that’s the special part. on this subject.

“They work together, they know, ‘Hey I need a little kick here. Bring the other guy in. They have no problem when the other guy comes in there and they recognize him one to the other.

Elliott is good with it because he believes it’s the best way for the Cowboys to win.

And that’s all he cares about.

“All I worry about is winning football games and chasing that ring,” Elliott said. “Do what we have to do. We remain committed to the race and we continue to have these attempts, I think we will succeed.

With Rush and when Prescott returns.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Related Stories

Profile picture of Clarence E. Hill Jr.

Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies since the demise of the teams from the dynasty of the 1990s through the roller coaster years of the Tony Romo era to Jason Garrett’s Cowboys process.

#Dallas #Cowboys #stay #Cooper #Rushled #offense #Dak #Prescott #returns

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *