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If Ezekiel Elliott Must Sit, The Time is Now

Jess Haynie

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If Ezekiel Elliott Must Sit, The Time is Now

As was revealed yesterday, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott lost his injunction against the NFL's suspension and will now have to seek new legal remedies to keep playing. Elliott and the NFLPA will likely file for a new injunction as their lawsuit moves from Texas to New York, meaning nothing is certain yet about when or even if Elliott will ever have to sit out the six games.

To be clear, I want Elliott to keep fighting.

I want Zeke to win this war. But if his camp believes they're only delaying the inevitable and have little chance of true victory, then the outcome may ultimately hurt the Cowboys and Zeke himself. If the six games will be missed at some point, then right now appears to be the best time for it.

Consider where we are in the Cowboys' season. They still have 11 games to go and then hopefully the playoffs.

Here is what's left of the Cowboys' 2017 schedule:

  1. @ San Francisco
  2. @ Washington
  3. Kansas City
  4. @ Atlanta
  5. Philadelphia
  6. L.A. Chargers
  7. Washington
  8. @ N.Y. Giants
  9. @ Oakland
  10. Seattle
  11. @Philadelphia

If Ezekiel Elliott serves the suspension immediately, he will miss weeks 7-12.

There are a couple of very beatable teams there in the 49ers and Chargers; teams that Dallas should be able to handle even with Alfred Morris at running back. There are two games that Dallas might have trouble winning even with Zeke; the undefeated Chiefs and a road game against the Falcons.

Ezekiel Elliott, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

A Big Consideration Here is Division Games

Zeke would miss the first 2017 meetings with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, which hurts, but he'd be back for the rematches against all three NFC East opponents in the later part of the season. He'd also be back for tough games against the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.

Perhaps the most important issue, though, is that this would ensure Elliott would not miss any playoff games.

The threat of Elliott delaying this suspension just to end up missing postseason action has hung over this entire legal process. There is little way to control when the courts hear and decide cases, meaning you could wind up only pushing the suspension back until the worst possible time.

Again, I want for Zeke to continue to defend his reputation and rights. I want the NFL to pay for their corruption. But I also would hate to see the ultimate outcome of this fight only hurt Elliott and the Cowboys even more than it already has.

As far as I see it, Elliott has already won whatever he's going to in the court of public opinion. What happens in court now isn't going to move the needle on the people who support him or believe he was guilty. There is no new evidence to discuss when it comes to Tiffany Thompson's accusation. People have already decided how they feel about the domestic violence side of this issue.

Even if Elliott decides to stop the fight and accept the suspension, very few are going to take that as an admission of guilt. At this point, the NFL has turned itself into the bad guy.

It'll look more like Zeke simply couldn't fight the corrupt system and decided to take his losses.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Featured in 9th Annual ESPN Body Issue

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Something else to consider is does anyone, including Ezekiel Elliott, want this issue to continue into 2018?

Maybe he and the union can keep fighting and eventually push his suspension all the way to weeks 1-6 of the 2018 season. Do we really want another offseason of this cloud hanging over Zeke and the Cowboys?

2018 projects as a major opportunity for the Cowboys to contend for a championship. The young pieces on the defense--who are currently having growing pains--will be in a much better position to compete. Dak Prescott will be in his third season and likely better than ever. The same goes for Elliott.

This ultimately comes down to risk versus reward and the likelihood of victory.

If Elliott's lawyers and the union truly believe they can win this fight and Zeke never has to miss games, then go ahead and keep fighting. But again, if all we're doing is delaying the inevitable, then it seems like there is no better time to serve the suspension than now.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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8 Comments
  • Lewis Johnson

    I would love for him to take her to court and show everyone the type of person she is. He wins it then turn around and sue the NFL for not giving him a real chance to prove himself.

  • oneputter

    if i was on zeke’s legal team, i would have pushed for a shorter suspension on conduct detrimental to the league for the st. patricks day episode and for the alleged bar fight, under they conditions they clear his name on the alleged DV charge. take a 2-3 game suspension at the beginning of the season and move forward.

  • Robert Evans

    “He won’t miss any playoff games”? When in 2018, this Cowboys team couldn’t find the playoffs with a flashlight and a roadmap. They just blew back to back double digit leads at home vs the Rams and Packers; the defense is too young, this is a transition year for Dallas.

  • Mike Clatterbuck

    Here’s the thing, if Zeke has to serve his suspension, I agree that he should do it now. I’m a die-hard Cowboys fan. I don’t believe our season is over just because Zeke misses 6 games. We have 2 very capable running backs in Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. The offense would have to adapt. Well be fine.

  • Ryan Pomales

    What a way to trivialize Domestic violence to cover up for ur star player. Love reading these Zeke fluff pieces written by Jones family members and Cowboy fans smh Nobody even arguing that he didn’t beat up a woman jus mad cause he can’t beat the NFL system like he does the legal system thru his MANY off the field transgressions in jus the last year alone. System is far from perfect but at least someone giving him what he deserves. Love how the fan/writer that wrote this BS been fan of the Boys since a very convenient time so I’m glad that the fair weather/band wagon years were short lived and has been many years of misery ever since..ah karma

    • Russ_Te

      No, not guilty is exactly the Elliott position. Guilty until proven innocent by the court of public opinion, has already wrecked his endorsements future. He’s 100% entitled to fight a very weak NFL case against him.

  • Russ_Te

    I believed the Elliott team could gut the NFL findings, before it’s own case interviewer did it for them. This is a slam dunk when it goes to court, and a prudent judge would table it until the offseason. The uncertainty is already weighing on EE mentally – you can kind of see it in his demeanor.

    He has to play this out to vindication IMO, and trust that it will not cause a suspension down the road at a worse time than now. If it does, he at least did everything he could to oppose it.

  • Don

    Jess the way I see it if he were to take the suspension then that to me would be accepting an omission of guilt.If the legal system found nothing to charge him with and the NFL’s lead investigator (a woman) recommended they not pursue the suspension and they basically kicked her thoughts to the curb,then I hope he goes for the jugular and fights them in court big time. This isn’t going to go away until it’s settled in court. I’ve heard several reports & commentators as well as our coaches that they think this is affecting his running and I don’t see how it wouldn’t. As far as the St. Patty’s day incident as immature as it may have come across that young woman thought it was funny and said she didn’t have a problem with it and is most likely why the NFL didn’t bring that up. Zeke has a a lot of maturing to go and hopefully these incidents will wake him up and get him on the right track. He has to realize his school days are over and it’s time to grow up…!

Dallas Cowboys

Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?

Jess Haynie

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Barry Church

Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?

Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?

Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.

The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.

Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.

Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.

According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.

Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.

Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.



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Dallas Cowboys

How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week

Jess Haynie

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Jaylon Smith, Eagles

It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.

With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.

Here are the current standings:

  1. Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
  3. Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
  4. New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)

The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.

At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.

So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.

Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Thankful for Cooper in Division Win Over Redskins

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.

The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.

Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).

It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.

Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.

Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.

But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.



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Game Notes

#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone

Kevin Brady

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.

This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.

In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.

For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.

Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.

Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.



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