Ezekiel Elliott's appeal of his six-game suspension for domestic violence is one of the biggest stories in the NFL right now. The hearing is supposed to end today and then we will have to wait and see what arbiter Harold Henderson decides as to the length of Elliott's ban, or if it even still exists.
This morning I had "Mike & Mike" on in the background while getting ready for work and Mike Greenberg began reading off the NFL's suspensions under the domestic violence (D.V.) policy since 2014. Of course, that was the year of the Ray Rice incident that brought the NFL's handling of domestic violence issues under public fire. A new policy was instituted that set a six-game minimum for D.V. incidents.
With the help of this article from Michael David Smith about the NFL's handling of domestic violence, here is a summary of the cases that have come between Ray Rice and Ezekiel Elliott:
- 2014 - Quincy Enunwa, Jets WR, was arrested and charged with assaulting a woman. Suspension: 4 games
- 2014 - Jonathan Dwyer, Cardinals RB, was arrested and charged for D.V. against his wife. Suspension: 3 games
- 2015 - Junior Galette, Washington LB, was arrested and charged with D.V. Charges were later dropped. Suspension: 2 games.
- 2015 - Joseph Randle, Cowboys RB, was arrested and charged but charges were later dropped. This was four months after a shoplifting arrest and other issues Randle had during a short, trouble-filled NFL career. Suspension: 4 games.
- 2015 - Andrew Quarless, Packers TE, was accused of firing a gun into the air during a domestic argument. Suspension: 2 games.
- 2016 - Josh Brown, Giants K, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor D.V. against his wife. Suspension: 1 game
In case you didn't get it the first five times, let me just make sure...
"ARRESTED AND CHARGED"
Those two words hang over this case more than any other fact, question, or opinion. The NFL, namely Roger Goodell, has routinely come down softer on players with legal arrests, charges and even admissions of guilt related to domestic violence. None of these apply in Ezekiel Elliott's case.
Elliott was never arrested or charged by police after an investigation into Tiffany Thompson's accusations. Not only that, but Thompson's credibility has been ripped to shreds from more than one angle. Zeke even filed a harassment claim against her last year for repeated phone calls and messages, including threats to blackmail him.
It is fair to ask what Goodell and his cronies had that made them think any sort of suspension was warranted. It is imperative to ask what they had that made them suddenly decide to stick to the six-game minimum. Why would Goodell suddenly decide to drop the hammer on arguably the weakest case of domestic violence he's reviewed since the policy was enacted?
(That's a picture of Goodell and NY Giants owner John Mara, whose team plays the Cowboys in Week One. I'm just going to leave that there.)
(Oh, but go back up to that list and see Josh Brown again. See what team he played for. See how many games he got compared to the rest.)
You can't cite mandatory minimums when you've done nothing but undercut them for three years. Goodell has already broken his own D.V. policy with this history and it makes everything happening now with Ezekiel Elliott highly questionable, if not suspect for incompetence and even corruption.
You could argue that this isn't about Elliott but the NFL trying to reset the bar for domestic violence and add teeth back to their own policy. If that is the goal then they picked the wrong case to do it with. There is no arrest or charge, only an accuser with major credibility issues. The NFL has chosen the wrong scapegoat.
This situation reveals a lot about who and what Roger Goodell really is. At the least, he's inconsistent and therefore ill-equipped to handle such important and personally damaging issues as domestic violence and other personal conduct issues. His track record of incompetence in these matters is clear and it's the players and their reputations who suffer the most from Goodell's wishy-washy judgments.
Look at that picture again. This situation tells you what a lie it is, and why Goodell is deservedly booed at every draft. He is the last guy that should be welcoming these players to the NFL, given that he has consistently proven to have their well-being furthest from his mind. When it comes to the NFL relationship with its talent pool, the commissioner should be somewhere between the owners and the players. Goodell has always been the owners' puppet and easily swayed by what he thinks will appease public opinion.
Some have tried to excuse Goodell's treatment of Elliott as trying to "scare him straight." There's no denying that Zeke has had some maturity and decision-making issues, but can we talk about Joseph Randle again? His track record was awful going into his D.V. incident and yet still Goodell didn't give him the six-game minimum. The only thing consistent about Goodell is his inconsistency.
A real commissioner would look at nothing but Ezekiel Elliott, Tiffany Thompson, and the facts of the case. He would look at prior decisions and the reasoning that went into them. He wouldn't need appeals and courts to solve fairly simple issues that anyone in his position should be able to handle.
But no, that's not what we have in the NFL. We have a guy that is a cross between Pinocchio and a wet noodle. And sadly, it looks like we're stuck with him for a while.
I freely admit that I'm a Cowboys fan and, as such, have plenty of bias in this situation. But anyone who looks at the known facts and information about this case shouldn't be far behind Cowboys Nation in their outrage. All 32 fan bases of the NFL, even those in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, should be angry about injustice.
Your favorite player may be the next on Goodell's docket. Whatever the next hot button issue is that has the public pointing fingers at the NFL, the unfortunate player who gets in Goodell's crosshairs will face his same unpredictable rulings. Even worse, he may be convicted by the NFL for a crime he didn't commit and no true judicial body saw fit to pursue.
This isn't about the Cowboys season or your fantasy football team. This is about a real person, 22-year-old Ezekiel Elliott, and a potentially false accusation that the NFL has now obtusely stamped right on his forehead. Even if Harold Henderson drops the suspension to just a couple of games, Zeke should strongly consider taking the matter to court. Accepting any suspension could be seen as an admission of some degree of guilt, and an innocent man (I hope) shouldn't have to live with that.
We will know soon what Henderson decided and then see how things unfold. Whatever the end result, Roger Goodell has already failed. Once again, he has allowed a situation to go too far and ultimately out of his hands. He's the worst fumbler in the history of the NFL.
NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.
I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.
As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.
Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.
Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.
Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.
I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.
I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.
Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?
Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?
There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.
One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.
In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.
Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.
So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?
Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.
Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.
To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.
Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.
Cowboys Face Latest Challenge Fighting for First Road Win at Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars feels like just the introduction to this season's story. Whether or not the body of this story tells a disappointing tale or one of triumph can be revealed as early as this Sunday.
When the Cowboys travel to Washington, they'll be looking for their first road win of the season, and with it the NFC East lead over a Redskins team that would fall to 3-3 and 0-1 inside the division.
Early season losses at the Panthers, Seahawks, and Texans do little in predicting the Cowboys faith at the Redskins. These three teams are a combined 6-2 at home this season, with the Cowboys most recent loss in Houston falling much more on coaching than it did on-field execution.
Making their week six win over the NFL's top defense look extraordinarily easy, the Cowboys continued on a seemingly timeless trend under Jason Garrett. Returning to AT&T Stadium at 2-3, the Cowboys won their 12th game at one under .500 under Garrett.
Their 378 total yards on offense against the Jaguars brought their average in three home games up to 363.3, nearly 88 yards better than their road performances this season. The Redskins have allowed 326.2 yards per game this season, ranked fifth in the league just behind the Cowboys at 315.2 yards a game.
Garrett has gone 11-4 in his head coaching career against the Redskins, winning his last five at FedEx Field by an average of less than 10 points a game. The Redskins have turned the ball over just five times this season and allow a stout 90.2 rushing yards per game, meaning this game has all the makings of another classic between historic NFC East rivals.
In an ongoing effort to learn just who these 2018 Cowboys really are, a close win on the road would go a long way, beyond the slack they were afforded earlier this season to tighten up their game and make a serious push for the division.
The Cowboys will be on their bye week following Sunday's game. It comes at the perfect time for players like Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie, and Tavon Austin. With Austin struggling to make a sustained impact in the Cowboys offense, Awuzie conceding snaps to Jourdan Lewis, and Lee looking on at Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch dominate at LB, these three Cowboys among plenty of others know how important this game is for remaining relevant down the stretch.
Shortening this rivalry's history to just the games quarterbacked by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are 3-0 with Prescott completing 65.3% of his passes - easily his highest mark against any NFC East foe.
The Cowboys confidence in getting to 4-3 should rest in Prescott using both his arm and legs to give the Cowboys the lead, than force Alex Smith to beat this defense.
The Redskins aren't a team that will beat themselves, leaving this one for the taking of a Cowboys team buried after week five's loss and crowned NFC East leaders 'elect' by week seven. A funny game this NFL is, and one the Cowboys don't want to play around with too much when considering Sunday's opponent - as well as the task at hand of earning a win on the road the latest in a season since 2013 for Dallas.
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