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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…!

Game Notes

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.

Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable

The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.

Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.

Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
  • S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
  • RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
  • G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
  • CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable

It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.

Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.

In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.

Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.

Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.

Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.

The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.

Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.

Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.

Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.

Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.

He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.

If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.

Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.

Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.

That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.



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