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  • Lauren Barash

Michael Irvin explains why Ezekiel Elliott has different value than Tony Pollard

The Dallas Cowboys currently have the best kind of problem to have. They have two stellar running backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard who both deserve to be RB1s and bring completely different things to the table.

A problem may arise next season when they have to figure out which one they can keep since Elliott currently has a massive contract and Pollard is set to become a free agent, but that’s an issue for another day.

The reality is that both backs are doing great this year. While some may try and push that Pollard, who had a stellar performance against the Chicago Bears, needs more snaps than Elliott because of his speed, PFF grades, and yards per carry, the reality is that there’s no point in dimming one’s light to let the other’s shine if they can both do their jobs well.

Running backs coach Skip Peete made it incredibly clear after Pollard’s game on Sunday that both backs were important to this team and that both would play integral roles moving forward:

“I’ve always felt – at that position – you’ve always gotta have two guys that help each other. And it helps if the running styles are a little bit different. The contrast presents a different effect to the defense. I learned that a long time ago.” I’ve always had two guys here. Julius Jones and Marion Barber, then Felix Jones and Marion, then Felix and DeMarco [Murray].” We’re fortunate to have two very talented guys. Years ago, I’d say ‘Thunder and Lightning’ but that’s been used 80 million times. I always think of it now as a sledgehammer and a sword. The sledgehammer is crushing and pounding, and the sword comes in and slices you up.”

It may be clear to the man that coaches them, but that hasn’t stopped continued debates about Elliott vs. Pollard to continue popping up. It’s a topic that Cowboys legend Michael Irvin was asked about in a recent appearance on 105.3 The Fan.

Michael Irvin thinks every NFL player should still fear Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott because of his physicality

The Hall of Famer will be the first to admit that the former first-rounder isn’t the back he was six years ago. Irvin knows Elliott has slowed down. However, when asked about whether No. 21 still “carries weight” in this league, Irvin said he believes that every NFL player should still be scared of Elliott because of his physicality. It’s the element Irvin believes Elliott has over Pollard:

“You talking how much weight he still carries? Ain’t no man in the NFL that will tell you they want to run into Zeke. That’s the weight. Don’t be fooled. You want a physical football team. You want people to come out and say ‘hey, this team is physical.’ What did I tell you about San Francisco last week? Why did I not want to see San Francisco? I said ‘oh that team’s too physical.’ We want people saying that about us. And you would not get it with Tony Pollard. They going to talk about him being explosive. Explosive is good. But you will not get it without teams saying ‘boy this team’s physical.’ Then, what’s going to happen? They’re scared of physicalness. They’re going to put more people in the box. And now we can get some plays up the field. That’s what I’m talking about right there.” Explosiveness is dangerous. But it’s not feared as much as physicalness in the NFL. And you want that physicalness. Man, I’m telling you we need it.”

For the Pollard homers, it might be time to take Irvin’s words to heart. Maybe instead of trying to pit one RB against the other, Cowboys fans should just sit back and be grateful that this team has two backs with two different skill sets who help this team win.

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