DALLAS — If Ezekiel Elliott is not available for the Dallas Cowboys' Week 1 tilt with the New York Giants Sunday at AT&T Stadium, coach Jason Garrett has full confidence in the running backs on the roster.
Currently, Dallas has rookie Tony Pollard and veteran Alfred Morris to rely upon as Elliott continues his holdout for a contract extension with two years remaining on his rookie deal. Fullback Jamize Olawale could also be considered a running back given his responsibilities in pass protection.
"[We] feel good about those guys," Garrett told reporters Monday at The Star. "They got a lot of work through training camp, a lot of work through preseason. Excited to see them play. We'll continue to work with them all week long to get those guys ready to go."
The most sensational of the reserve backs backs was Pollard, who saw considerable time with the first team offense both in practice and the preseason.
Through three games, the fourth-round pick from Memphis produced 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries along with catching three passes for 19 yards. Even though Pollard is a rookie, he gives the coaching staff confidence facing the Giants without Elliott.
"Tony has done everything we've asked him to do as a runner, as a protector, as a receiver," Garrett said. "There aren't really any issues that we have with him. He's a smart football player. We thought that when he was coming out of school. It's one of the reasons that we liked him. He showed versatility to be able to help our team in a lot of different ways, and he stepped in here and did a really good job.
"[The game] does not seem too big for him. He handled the work as we've given it to him. Been aggressive with the installation with him. He's been with the ones a lot, and, again, he's been playing. He played well in the preseason games and he played well in practice."
According to Garrett, the 22-year-old from Melrose High School in Memphis, Tenn., "has shown a real maturity" since his arrival in Frisco. With the tutelage of running backs coach Gary Brown, Pollard has grown into the role and not had very many moments where he has looked like a newcomer.
If Pollard looks more like Derrick Lassic in the regular season, Dallas has Morris and Olawale to fall back on, especially in pass protection.
Said Garrett: "Alfred Morris is an experienced player. Jamize Olawale has done that for us in the past. So, each of those guys can go into that role and handle it well and handle it the way we need to get it done."
While the Cowboys are hopeful a deal can get worked with Elliott and the holdout ends, they are prepared to start the season without him and have belief in the other backs on the roster.
Do you see Tony Pollard as an running back able to help the Cowboys win games should Ezekiel Elliott's contract situation remain unresolved or should there be more urgency to get Zeke signed? Share your thoughts on the RBs with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.