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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Appeal Coming, Is Anybody on NFL’s Side?

Sean Martin

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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Appeal Coming, Is Anybody on NFL's Side?

By tomorrow at the latest, Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will file his official appeal of the six game suspension handed down to him on Friday for a violation of the league’s “personal conduct policy“.

This appeal is only a very preliminary first step in Elliott’s fight for justice, as this incredibly public battle between the Zeke camp and the NFL became even more heated last night. Before Ezekiel Elliott can take his case to the courts though, he will meet with either Commissioner Roger Goodell or another league official for his appeal hearing.

All signs point to this meeting being the last chance for both sides to settle on any resolution that does not lead to an all-out war over the coming months into the 2017 season.

Roger Goodell himself made even more negative headlines in this saga yesterday, as reports surfaced that he was never in attendance for Elliott’s hearings leading up to the suspension that he handed down per Article 46 of the CBA.

Elliott instead met with former NJ Attorney General Peter Harvey, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Ken Houston, Chief Executive Officer of The Women of Color Network Tonya Lovelace, and former United States attorney/Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White. The credibility all four of these officials publicly hold in a case like this – which surely demanded a meeting with Tiffany Thompson that also never happened with Goodell – is microscopic compared to the factually based case Ezekiel Elliott and his team of lawyers are building.

DCBlueStar on Twitter

Remember the NFL Investigator who is a “Rabid Giants Fan,” Lisa Friel? Even SHE took Zeke’s side. She found the “victim” to not be credible.

Zeke’s case here has long been about invalidating any and all erroneous claims from Tiffany Thompson, a summary of which are outlined nicely here by the Star Telegram. Making the most waves yesterday was an alleged message from Thompson to Elliott that, on July 22nd, Elliott was told he was, “a black male athlete,” and that Thompson was “a white girl”:

“They are not going to believe you,” Thompson concluded in a damning statement that will get plenty of air time from Ezekiel Elliott and his representatives over the coming weeks.

Ambassador Elliott on Twitter

My son’s legal team is ready to fight! Let’s deal!!! You will know the set up and PLOT!

A combination of all of this, including the above public statement from Elliott’s father, begs the fair question – is anybody actually supporting the NFL in this case??

Even a Cowboys fan peering through the most silver and blue tinted glasses can admit that the NFL would deserve strong support in dealing with a player legitimately found guilty of domestic violence. Perhaps even this support went by the wayside when the league suspended former Giants kicker Josh Brown just one game back in 2015 though.

Not only is Ezekiel Elliott’s case far from that clear-cut, but it points the NFL down a dangerous trail of potentially enabling corrupt victims like Tiffany Thompson down the line. There are few players that work under the spotlight that Zeke does as the star running back for the Dallas Cowboys – likely following this spotlight to a fault at times – but it is not a stretch to say that even the least-known of NFL players can all have a former acquaintance or “Tiffany Thompson” waiting for the NFL to discipline them, not far from being able to use Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension dangerously in their favor.

Roger Goodell, with a limited involvement in this high-profile case against one of his game’s brightest stars, chose a blatantly incorrect time to stick his foot in the ground and enforce a full six game suspension against Elliott for “personal conduct” – not even hammering home the details of a flawed domestic violence policy.

It truly almost feels as if, depending on who you ask in Cowboys Nation, Elliott stepping onto the field against the Giants to open the season at AT&T Stadium feels like a foregone conclusion to put this story behind everyone for good. Realistically though, Elliott could still be forced to fall on this sword and become the face of some real, needed change in the NFL’s enforcement of punishment. It is important to remember that his six game suspension stands until announced otherwise – not until denounced otherwise.

Many of the media members that have been reporting on this Ezekiel Elliott story from the very beginning have warned in the recent days that the official suspension notice was just the start of a story that very well could have a tragic ending for Elliott, Thompson, or Roger Goodell.

It is hard to quantify when “round one” of this fight truly took place, but I believe after yesterday that both sides were sent back to their corners – where Elliott and his team have the NFL right where they want them ahead of an upcoming appeal hearing.

Tell us what you think about “Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Appeal Coming, Is Anybody on NFL’s Side?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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3 Comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

    As an interested bystander, I look forward to Zeke getting his day in court (after his NFL appeals are exhausted). If Zeke wins in court, it will clear his name and put an end to this circus.

    If he loses, it will hopefully shut up all those fans who believe a Dallas Cowboy can do no wrong and that the NFL is evil incarnate. But of course fans will find other reasons to claim Zeke is innocent.

  • Suave Freddie

    The NFL’s justice system STINKS!! They can’t even get information on BOTH sides to make a TRUE decision. Now we have an ex-girl friend wannabe and an athlete trying to make a living on his own. Nobody gets it!! Ezekiel did not want to deal with her accusations. NFL screwed by not first getting all the facts from both persons involved. I hope TRUE justice comes out and Ezekiel will be innocent from ALL the information (lies, text messages, witnesses) he presents to the court(s). The NFL IS A BIG JOKE with this. Hope & Pray Goodell gets FIRED!! Mary Jo White is another one that should be FIRED!! SHE IS WISHY WASHY!!

    I’m Out!!

  • ArmyVet78

    If the NFL made its entire decision just based on Tiffany Thompson word, then Ezekiel Elliott is totally INNOCENT and the NFL has totally SCREWED UP. If the NFL wants to punish Elliott for CONDUCT UNBECOMING then that’s something else that needs to be clarified. It will be totally up to Jerry Jones to warn Elliott that if he screws up one more in public he’s gone. Jerry Jones needs to pull the REINS on all the players. Jones needs to write a very strict CONDUCT Policy and stick to it no matter who the player screws up. Jones needs to be completely FIRM BUT FAIR to the entire Cowboys Organization no exception to the RULES. There is a time and a place for everything but never for screw ups. Like the song on the Beretta Show said, “IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME DON’T DO THE CRIME DON’T DO IT”.

Star Blog

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Each offseason tough decisions have to be made by teams around the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Teams have to decide who to promote, who to demote, and who to cut ties with altogether. For the Cowboys, Terrance Williams fits into one of those three categories, but which one?

It was plainly obvious that the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers all had an extremely disappointing 2017 season.

Everybody has their own opinion as to why this happened, but one thing is for sure, the Cowboys coaching staff will definitely look at ways to get more out of their receiving core. The one player who I think could be affected most by whatever decision the coaching staff ends up making is Terrance Williams.

Williams didn’t do much to make a case for keeping his starting job in 2017, let alone sticking on the roster.

To say he had a disappointing season would be an understatement.

Williams finished the 2017 season with just 53 receptions for 568 receiving yards and absolutely zero touchdowns. The Cowboys were likely hoping for more production from someone they just signed to a four-year, $17-million contract extension back in March [2017].

Now, you can make the argument Williams took a team discount in order to stay in Dallas, but that doesn’t carry much weight when your production leaves so much to be desired. This is especially true when there might be somebody on the roster who can do just as well, and possibly be an upgrade.

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Yes, if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about Noah Brown.

I know I’m not alone here, but I think Noah Brown could easily replace Terrance Williams’ production. I understand that there’s not much evidence to back up that statement based on Brown’s rookie season, but he has all the tools required to succeed.

This is really all about potential, and Noah Brown simply has more upside than Terrance Williams.

We all know what Terrance Williams is as a receiver, and what he brings to the table for the Cowboys offense. I believe Noah Brown can do all the things Williams does and has the potential to be even better.

I already think Noah Brown is a better blocker, something the Cowboys coaching staff really values about Williams. I also think Brown is a better pass catcher. He is a natural hands catcher and has a large catching radius, something Williams obviously isn’t (body catcher).

Right now, Williams is only better than Noah Brown in a few areas. He is slightly faster, he’s more advanced as a route runner, and has more experience. That’s about it.

This will obviously be a tough decision for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to make. But, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Terrance Williams playing somewhere else when the 2018 season kicks off.

Do you think Terrance Williams will be with the Cowboys in 2018?

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Star Blog

Are the Dallas Cowboys Building a Championship Defense?

Sean Martin

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Three of the four teams remaining in the NFL playoffs — a win away from the Super Bowl — ranked within the top four defensively in yards per game allowed this season. The other is the defending-champion New England Patriots, who of course were expected to reach yet another AFC Championship game, thanks to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Somewhere between this field, losing their 2017 hopes at a deep playoff run to injuries, suspensions, and just poor execution at times, are the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys ranked eighth in yards allowed per game at 318.1 this season.

On the surface, all this provides hope that typically springs eternal around the league through the offseason.

It has been far too long since the Cowboys defense matched the skill level of the team’s offense, but Rod Marinelli’s unit (not exactly by design) outplayed that of Scott Linehan’s at times through this 9-7 campaign.

This defensive rebuild in Dallas began with the admission that this group had reached their ceiling in the offseason, as the Cowboys let long-time starters like CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, S Barry Church (now with the Jaguars), and S J.J. Wilcox go in free agency.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, looking to turn over an entire secondary in a division featuring Carson Wentz, Eli Manning, and Kirk Cousins as quickly as the Cowboys did was a risky move. Their confidence in hitting on draft picks paid off though.

The Cowboys’ bright future is predicated on the likes of CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis, and S Xavier Woods.

With two young starters at cornerback, the sky truly is the limit the this Cowboys defense. And they’ll play in support of an offense with more than enough talent to return to form in 2018.

As it stands now under Rod Marinelli, the Cowboys defense is built to keep everything in front of them, and get bodies to the football. This coverage-friendly approach could be taken to new heights with Lewis and Awuzie on the outside, along with Anthony Brown finding a home in the slot. All three cornerbacks have excelled at using their speed, length, and technique to get their hands on passes.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Of course, games are won in the trenches, where the idea of the Cowboys defensive line ever rising to the level of their offensive line was laughable until recently. Whether it’s with the franchise tag or a long-term extension, sack-artist DeMarcus Lawrence looks to be an all-important member of this entire team moving forward.

A healthy Lawrence was a nightmare for opposing right tackles in 2017. He earned a national spotlight each week on his way to the quarterback 14-and-a-half times. Making it look easy at times, Lawrence is a refined rusher with the speed and power to win inside and out.

The RDE position remains a sore spot in need of talent as this Cowboys defense looks to take the next step, but there’s hope for the likes of Randy Gregory, Charles Tapper, and Taco Charlton to get the job done, along with veteran starter Tyrone Crawford.

With Crawford at RDE for much of 2017, running the ball against the Cowboys front was a tall order. His ability to capture the corner against left tackles came as a pleasant surprise to many, and once in position, the defensive captain chased down plenty of plays.

Tyrone Crawford wasn’t the only pleasant surprise on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line this season.

Rookie Taco Charlton looked like an entirely different player to close a first year in Dallas that began with completely uninspiring results. Charlton — having the physical traits to play at the next level — was never a question out of Michigan.

He may never be a player to take over games for a defense, which the Cowboys couldn’t have expected to find at DE selecting 28th overall, but an improved player at DE and DT could be an incredibly valuable asset for the Cowboys in 2018 and beyond.

This leaves the Cowboys linebacker corps, where we find the best example of young potential on the entire defense. Amazingly playing in all 16 games, LB Jaylon Smith is in line to take a massive step forward in year two.

Smith closed his season looking enticingly close to the player he was at Notre Dame, an encouraging sign as the Cowboys look to become less dependent on Sean Lee on this side of the ball.

Lee and Smith paired together would give the Cowboys a middle-of-the-field presence to rival the best in the league. Both players have exceptional range and awareness to run down plays from sideline to sideline.

Anthony Hitchens, an impending free agent, is another valuable piece at LB with his ready ability to play all three positions at a relatively high level.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Stefon Diggs racing to the end zone with no time left to send the Vikings to the NFC Championship game will be the lasting image of this past Divisional Round weekend, an offensive play that will live on forever.

A closer look at these games and the teams that survived them reveals a collective trust in defenses, a trust the Cowboys could be blissfully close to with their own young defense.

The Cowboys are likely losing one of the smarter minds behind their defense in recent years, with Matt Eberflus ticketed for Josh McDaniel’s staff, and are still in need of a secondary coach after not retaining Joe Baker. In a league where better talent typically prevails though, the possibility of the Cowboys building a championship defense for next season and beyond may not be far off.

With defenses in Jacksonville and Philadelphia providing the hope that both teams can pull off the impossible and reach the Super Bowl on Sunday, will defensive potential be enough for Dallas to get through this long offseason and start the even longer path back to their first NFC Championship game in 21 seasons?

Tell us what you think about “Are the Dallas Cowboys Building a Championship Defense?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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