Cowboys and Short-Yardage Backs

T-RO

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Elliot was not just short yardage. He could gain 1-3 or more yards when other RBs would have gotten nothing. And he punished tacklers over and over to the point they made business decisions when time to tackle him later. He could wear them down. In the second half he broke big plays. That’s what he is missing now. But Pollard could. What will we see this year if we are without Elliot.

I have zero recollection of Zeke punishing defenders the past few seasons. And he was at close to the bottom of broken tackles amongst all running backs, big and small.
 

Coogiguy03

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In the past year we've repeatedly heard Zeke described as a "Short-Yardage back" or "Short Yardage Specialist." Many here argue that every team needs such a big, bully back, esp. the Cowboys. They want that big 225-240lb guy who can hit the wall of the defense yet still bully his way for a yard or two.

I suggest we look at what top NFL coaches think about this subject and how they are building their Running Back rooms. What are their views on the "Short-Yardage Specialist"?

Before we look at the RBs of top teams, let's chew on what Running-Game Guru thinks.

49er Head Coach Kyle Shanahan says:



IT'S ALSO NOT ABOUT LOOKING FOR CONTACT ALL THE TIME yet instead trying to avoid it, this to me is why Zeke stumbled a lot on runs
 

T-RO

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With today's spread offense the power back is only needed on teams that go under center and tighten the formation on short yardage plays. Zeke wasn't a power back, he became one because he lost a step and couldn't get to the outside. The fact that they made him one also contributed to him slowing down. Pollard won't last to week 10 if they try to use him that way.
Let's hope this doesn't become a negative Zeke theead....I'm sure it will and of course Dak will be blamed, as well.

Zeke was one of those guys who sought out contact. That's a power back, no dodging it.

You were the first to mention Dak in this thread. Hope you didn't start a trend!
 

Doomsday101

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I have zero recollection of Zeke punishing defenders the past few seasons. And he was at close to the bottom of broken tackles amongst all running backs, big and small.
You got bad memory, Zeke had 12 TD on the season not from long break away runs but runs up the gut often vs stacked lines.
 

glimmerman

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I have zero recollection of Zeke punishing defenders the past few seasons. And he was at close to the bottom of broken tackles amongst all running backs, big and small.
Broken tackles were a disappointment but believe me he was punishing. When he runs in the pile everyone feels it. He just can’t reach that second level. Sure was a quick drop off wasn’t it.
 

LACowboysFan1

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In the past year we've repeatedly heard Zeke described as a "Short-Yardage back" or "Short Yardage Specialist." Many here argue that every team needs such a big, bully back, esp. the Cowboys. They want that big 225-240lb guy who can hit the wall of the defense yet still bully his way for a yard or two.

I suggest we look at what top NFL coaches think about this subject and how they are building their Running Back rooms. What are their views on the "Short-Yardage Specialist"?

Before we look at the RBs of top teams, let's chew on what Running-Game Guru thinks.

49er Head Coach Kyle Shanahan says:
It wasn't, at least not for me, about wanting Zeke on the team as a short yardage specialist because of his size, it was merely that he was good at the goal line and in 3rd or 4th and short. Size had little to do with it, except that I would rather not have Pollard, our soon to be featured back, doing it, since he's not 225-240 lbs, a matter of wear and tear on him.

Dorsett was good on inside runs and on the goal line, and he was listed at 190 or so but wasn't really probably more than 180. Now DTs and so forth are bigger now, but Pollard is over 200 lbs, so it balances out....
 

T-RO

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Broken tackles were a disappointment but believe me he was punishing. When he runs in the pile everyone feels it. He just can’t reach that second level. Sure was a quick drop off wasn’t it.

I'm 60+ years old. Would have felt Zeke running into any line I was a part of, LOL. Just not productive while punishing.

And Yes, a quick drop off.
 

DanA

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I think the average short-yardage conversion percentage is 65% and both Pollard and Zeke were around 75% and much higher before Steele went down. Who was the bowling ball that the Panthers used….Mike Tolbert? He was a bit of a weapon IMO and worth his spot on the roster a few years ago.
 

T-RO

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I think the average short-yardage conversion percentage is 65% and both Pollard and Zeke were around 75% and much higher before Steele went down. Who was the bowling ball that the Panthers used….Mike Tolbert? He was a bit of a weapon IMO and worth his spot on the roster a few years ago.

If you want to just mash...in a limited role go the Fridge Perry path. Run one of your 300 pound lineman up the gut.



Or perhaps as effective, just run a damn QB sneak, the most under-rated play in the sport.
 

Cowboyny

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A look at the Super Bowl teams.

Do we see big power backs? "Short-Yardage" specialists?

-Isiah Pacheco, 5'11, 215 lb... 170 carries (I doubt he weighs even that much)
-Jerick McKinnon, 5'9 201... 72 carries
-Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 5'8 209... 71 carries

No power backs.

Eagles?
Miles Sanders, 5'11, 211... 259 carries
Boston Scott, 5'6, 203...54 carries
Kenneth Gainwell, 5'9 200 ...53 carries



Eye test on Pacheco - Real weight?
https://www.ksn.com/wp-content/uplo...2333572824494.jpg?w=1752&h=986&crop=1[/image]

Eye test on Sanders - Real weight?
https://cdn.profootballrumors.com/files/2020/10/USATSI_15047165.jpg
Hurts is the Eagles short yardage back.
 

Jarntt

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In the past year we've repeatedly heard Zeke described as a "Short-Yardage back" or "Short Yardage Specialist." Many here argue that every team needs such a big, bully back, esp. the Cowboys. They want that big 225-240lb guy who can hit the wall of the defense yet still bully his way for a yard or two.

I suggest we look at what top NFL coaches think about this subject and how they are building their Running Back rooms. What are their views on the "Short-Yardage Specialist"?

Before we look at the RBs of top teams, let's chew on what Running-Game Guru thinks.

49er Head Coach Kyle Shanahan says:
“What is a short-yardage power back? Is that just the biggest guy possible? Is it the Nigerian Nightmare? Is that the only way? It doesn’t have to always be that way. I think Frank Gore is an unbelievable short-yardage back and is he a real big guy? No, he’s a normal back. So I think our guys can be similar to that.”

“It’s very rare that you just run into people and run over a pile,” Shanahan said. “It’s about finding creases. There’s gaps that everyone has and usually everyone has so many people up in there to play the gaps that you have got to get to that open gap that’s there.


So from that quote you posted, Shanahan clearly sees the value in a short yardage back and he doesn't even state it can't be a bigger guy, just that it doesn't have to be. OK. I guess I agree with Shanahan because I also see the need for a guy who can convert in those situations
 

T-RO

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So from that quote you posted, Shanahan clearly sees the value in a short yardage back and he doesn't even state it can't be a bigger guy, just that it doesn't have to be. OK. I guess I agree with Shanahan because I also see the need for a guy who can convert in those situations

In his player acquisition Shanahan has increasingly preferred smaller backs, as that's what's worked out for him. He'll put them in 3rd and one, on the goal...all day long. He's happy to have no big backs on his roster.

As I've demonstrated: Same for Andy Reid with Chiefs. Same for Eagles. Bills.

Noticing a trend?
 

big dog cowboy

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One of my all time favorite short yardage RB:

giphy.gif
 

morasp

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Just draft Deuce Vaughn from Kansas State and a bulldozer OG and he'll have the first down before the defense can find him.
 

Jarntt

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In his player acquisition Shanahan has increasingly preferred smaller backs, as that's what's worked out for him. He'll put them in 3rd and one, on the goal...all day long. He's happy to have no big backs on his roster.

As I've demonstrated: Same for Andy Reid with Chiefs. Same for Eagles. Bills.

Noticing a trend?
I'm noticing your actual quote from Shanahan showed how he sees value in a short yardage back. That is what I agreed with and commented on

I'm also noticing that picking teams with two of the top QBs in the NFL and in prolific passing offenses isn't a good comparison for what we should do in Dallas. Also, the Eagles have an amazing OL and are basically plug and play at RB and also just signed a 220lbs free agent RB. They also run a read option offense so quick backs that can gain yards before the defense knows who has the ball are helpful. You are oversimplifying it. There is no one way to do it or not do it. You need a scheme and the players that fit your scheme, not someone else's scheme. If you copy another teams size/weight without having their players or scheme you are going to fail. I'm not saying a big back or small back is better. Give me the talented back or give me Pat Mahomes or Allen.

Lastly do you know that the leading rusher for 2 of the 3 teams that you picked had less yards than BOTH Zeke and Pollard? Think Dallas is going to win like that? Is that the trend you think we need?
 

joseephuss

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A big, power back is not required to be successful in goal line situations. If you can create creases, you can find the endzone. You can scheme to create sufficient enough space for anyone, be it a regular size back, a smaller, shiftier back or a quarterback. If you do have a larger running back or short yardage specialist that can be a bonus for team. Sometimes a crease isn't quite as large as it needs to be and someone with a little more power can still produce in that situation more so than a smaller guy. Things don't have to work one single way in the NFL.
 

glimmerman

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I'm 60+ years old. Would have felt Zeke running into any line I was a part of, LOL. Just not productive while punishing.

And Yes, a quick drop off.
I am 52 and would not stick my head in that car wreck if he was coming through.
 

glimmerman

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Hurts is the Eagles short yardage back.
He will meet someone in the hole soon and hurts will learn to turn around and hand the ball off. I remember when we had (safety) Roy Williams, he would sniff those up the gut runs out and come down hill in the hole and it made a very special sound when he collided with them.
 
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