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Cowboys' Jerry Jones: Tony Pollard Can Carry Load Amid Ezekiel Elliott Holdout

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Monday, July 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

Not only are the Dallas Cowboys yet to reach a deal with Ezekiel Elliott, but they are also starting to suggest backup Tony Pollard could fill in as a replacement.

Owner Jerry Jones praised the rookie fourth-round pick Sunday following his first preseason game.

"I certainly thought he had a good account of himself," Jones said, per David Helman of the team's official site. "He looks confident out there, we know he's inordinately understanding of what he does and can do. We've seen him do it, we know he's capable of, if he really needs to, carrying the whole load."

Pollard finished with 16 rushing yards on four carries during the Cowboys' 17-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

While Dallas likely drafted him to be a backup and a change-of-pace back behind Elliott, he could end up with a much bigger role this year while the starter continues his holdout.

Although Elliott has two seasons remaining on his rookie deal, the Pro Bowler reportedly won't play in 2019 without a new contract, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN. The two sides continue working on an extension, but Jones has suggested he could be willing to move on with someone else in the backfield.

"You don't have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl," the owner told CBS 11 Sports last month.

This could put a lot of pressure on Pollard, who doesn't have much experience as a full-time running back. He ranked just third on Memphis last season with 78 rushing attempts behind Patrick Taylor Jr. and All-American Darrell Henderson. On the plus side, he averaged 7.1 yards per carry and added 39 receptions for 458 yards.

The lack of carries during his college career could keep him fresh for the NFL, similar to New Orleans Saints star Alvin Kamara.

Alfred Morris and seventh-round pick Mike Weber should also factor in the run game if Elliott does not play.