The secret seems to be out (if it were ever a secret at all). The Philadelphia Eagles face the Dallas Cowboys for the first of a pair of 2023 divisional clashes on Sunday in Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season. It’s a huge game for fans. It's an even bigger game for the parties involved.
The winner of this one takes bragging rights and, more importantly, an early important divisional win. Philly enters their bye week once this one has a bow on it.
There have been big changes on the Cowboys’ roster and coaching staff since these two proud franchises last exchanged pleasantries. One of the bigger changes is running back and long-time Birds menace Ezekiel Elliott is no longer a Cowboy.
Zeke torched Philly time and time again. In 12 career games versus Philly, he stacked up 233 carries for 1,107 yards (4.9 yards per carry). He also scored seven touchdowns.
What Elliott did versus Philly was seemingly the equivalent of Boston Scott's showings versus the New York Giants. In a word, he has no doubt been monstrous
Newly-promoted Tony Pollard has yet to prove he can be the same as 'the guy'.
Tony Pollard seemingly won't be the same hammer versus the Eagles that Ezekiel Elliott was.
It's 2023. Zeke plays for the New England Patriots now. The Cowboys hoped they'd just plug in Tony Pollard and enjoy the same level of production. There was just one problem with their theory, and it's an obvious one. Pollard isn't a workhorse running back.
Tony Pollard never carried the ball more than 193 times before the current NFL season, and he reached that career high last year. Through just seven games this season, he has already carried the ball 108 times. That’s already 55.7% of his career-high in carries, and we've only enjoyed 41% of the season. Yikes.
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Well how effective has he been? If he’s getting all of these carries, he’s got to be putting up big boy numbers, right?” Not so fast my friend.
193 carries in 2022 produced 1,007 yards. 108 carries this year have only yielded 423 yards. That’s 42% of last year's total. Here’s how that adds up. Having already reached 55.7% of his career-high in carries, he has only collected 42% of his career-high in yards gained as a risher.
Carries per game
Yards per carry
Maybe, this information is incomplete and some of the variables aren’t accounted for. One thing is certain though. This Pollard fella isn't the same menace that Ezekiel Elliott was.
Pollard has been overused. He has also underperformed based on what the Cowboys expected. Hey, don't expect to hear any complaints from this direction. As fas as we are concerned, you really love to see it.