Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is preparing for the team’s offense to enter a new era. After several seasons of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott as co-No. 1 backs, Pollard is now the clear RB1 heading into 2023. Now, the question is, what will that look like with backups Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn?
“Mike McCarthy saw Cowboys as having ‘two No. 1s' at RB with Zeke and Tony Pollard,” Dallas Morning News Cowboys insider Michael Gehlken reported Monday. “Our room is different, being Captain Obvious here. Tony is the lead guy, and we’ve got some young guys we're excited about. …This is the first year that we’re different in the running back room.”
Heading into the 2023 NFL season, the Cowboys running back room is without Ezekiel Elliott for the first time since the team selected him No. 4 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Tony Pollard, as Mike McCarthy explained, is now the guy in the backfield, and the youngsters behind him include fourth-year vet Rico Dowdle and 2023 sixth-round pick out of TCU, Deuce Vaughn.
Pollard ran for over 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl last season, despite getting 38 fewer carries than Elliott. Now, as the unquestioned RB1, Cowboys fans will get to see what Pollard can do as the main man. That said, the interesting piece of the Dallas backfield will be how McCarthy used Dowdle and Vaughn to supplement Pollard’s touches.
Dowdle has just seven career carries in three seasons and is oft-injured. Vaughn had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his three seasons at Kansas State, but at just 5-foot-6 and 176 pounds, we’ll have to wait and see if he’ll be able to translate that production (and health) to the NFL at that size.