Emmanuel Acho says Ezekiel Elliott should not be starting for the Cowboys. He’s wrong.

·3 min read

Tony Pollard leads all NFL running backs in yards per carry, and the last thing this man needs to do is start ahead of Ezekiel Elliott.

Even if former Texas and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho disagrees.

He’s wrong.

The Dallas Cowboys returned home on Monday night for their first game of the 2021 season at JerryWorld against the Philadelphia Eagles, and I expected to see Pollard start the game where he ought to have started the game.

On the bench.

I recently visited with Acho, who has made quite a name for himself in the media world and currently has a good gig as an analyst on FOX Sports.

He’s also currently working with Allstate and its initiative to pledge $1 million to college football players who can now benefit from the NCAA’s new Name Image Likeness (NIL) rules.

Acho has thoughts on that, too, but for the sake of this particular discussion we focused on the Cowboys, and their running back position.

Acho adamantly believes Pollard should start ahead of Zeke.

“Zeke Elliott is a star. A superstar, $90 million. He’s also not the best running back on the Cowboys,” Acho told me. ”But because you’re paying him, a superstar, $90 million, you gotta’ play him.

“Since Tony Pollard came into the league, he’s fifth in the NFL in yards per carry. Zeke is 31st. This season, [entering Week 3] Pollard is first, and Zeke is 29th.

“You can look at the running back situation and see the issues with the Cowboys. The dollars don’t make sense. Pun intended.”

From beginning to end, Acho makes valid points. The dollars seldom add up to winning with the Cowboys. That’s not new.

And, on this issue, Acho is wrong.

Zeke may never live up to that six-year, $90 million contract extension he signed in the fall of 2019. He won’t.

It also does not mean Tony Pollard should start.

Hark back to the words of former Dallas Cowboys head coach, and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bill Parcells on this issue.

It was Bill who said there are certain players whose effectiveness have a limit. In this case, he was referring to one of his running backs, Julius Jones, back in 2006.

Bill’s point applies not just to running backs, but other positions.

Certain guys are effective, until they are asked to do too much. Then they’re toast.

It’s no different than pitchers who are asked to pitch three innings instead of two. Basketball players who are more effective coming off the bench in limited minutes rather than starting.

Once you go beyond a certain spot, that player slides and they either get hurt or worn down.

Pollard was never a starter in his career at Memphis. He was kick returner/receiver/running back.

He is not built to carry the ball 25 times a game, the way Zeke is can. And Pollard is not a sixth offensive linemen like Zeke.

Zeke is built like a Marvel character.

Pollard is deadly right where he is, in a role made famous by the likes of a Darren Sproles. Sproles stood but 5-foot-6, but all of his numbers said he should have been a starter.

Sproles played in the NFL from 2005 to 2019, and appeared in 183 games. He started but 31 of them.

Acho is not buying my (correct) argument.

“I agree with that for every running back except for maybe Derrick Henry, and maybe Nick Chubb,” Acho said. “Look at Christian McCaffrey; he had gone over 300 all purpose yards the first two games and you give him the ball too much and he gets hurt.

“Make Tony Pollard prove it to me that you are going to get worse over time. I’m not going to just guess that you are going to get worse over time so I’m not going to run you. Prove it to me and then I’ll stop.”

Emmanuel Acho is a smart man, but on this issue he happens to be incorrect.

Tony Pollard is right where he belongs, behind Zeke Elliott.

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