Sun, 27 Sep 2020

Mailbag: A Bold Prediction For Tony Pollard

Dallas Cowboys
08 Aug 2020, 04:24 GMT+10

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Much has been said about the likelihood that with the addition of CeeDee Lamb the Cowboys could have three wide receivers post 1,000-yard seasons. I want to take that one step further and state that this year Dallas will have four go for 1,000 - the fourth being Tony Pollard with his total yards being a combination of rushing and receiving yards. Do you agree or disagree with this prediction?- JOHN WALKER / AUSTIN, TX

Nick: Disagree! Sorry, I think we're getting a little too carried away with this offense. Last year it was two 1,000-yard receivers on a team that didn't have a winning record. Now, Cooper is talking about three and we're thinking about four? I know you're saying that Pollard would get to 1,000 yards combined, so that's not exactly the same. But honestly, I hope the Cowboys don't have two 1,000-yard receivers. I think they'll be better off if they stick to a running game with Zeke that features some dynamic receivers on the outside.

Rob: Well, you might as well make it five, because Ezekiel Elliott is practically guaranteed to get at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage with a full season. Last year Pollard had 562 yards (rushing and receiving) last year. He definitely can top that this year, especially if the Cowboys hold more fourth-quarter leads and grind out rushing yards late. But I stick with what I said about the three 1,000-yard receivers: certainly possible, but with so many options on offense I predict two but not three. Same with Pollard hitting 1,000 combined: close, but only so many touches to go around.

Given the unprecedented circumstances affecting each NFL team right now, do you see a unique opportunity for teams with strong scouting departments (i.e. Will McClay) to find young players that aren't able to hang on with the teams that drafted them? You guys have discussed the difficulty young players are going to have making an impression without preseason games.- CHASE CLEMENTS / AUSTIN, TX

Nick: I think there will be some of that, but with the practice squad being enhanced this year to 16 players, I don't see a lot of moving around with these rookies. It'll be hard to make the 55-man roster but with the deep practice squads, I would imagine a lot of the players will stick to their team. Of course, if they get the opportunity to go somewhere else and be on the active roster, that will happen. But I bet with the unique situation of COVID-19 this year, most players are going to stick where they are this year. Without any preseason games to evaluate, it seems unlikely we will see a lot of teams claim a rookie off waivers and put them on their roster, especially this one. The Cowboys have a talented group and it won't be easy for their own drafted rookies to make it.

Rob: Sure, but that goes both ways. With fewer practices and no preseason games, I agree there will be talented players who slip through the cracks in the evaluation process. It simply will be harder to stand out. The same could happen to the Cowboys, too. They're excited about their entire rookie class, including several undrafted players who had draftable grades. But the reality is not all will make the team. It does help teams to have expanded practice squads (16).

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