The understatement of the 2017 NFL season thus far would be, here on August 12th, to tell you that there was a shortage of reactions to yesterday's news that Dallas Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for the first six games of the season per a violation of the league's "personal conduct policy".
The NFL world reacted accordingly to the ever-changing but all important details that continued to emerge throughout a day that was incorrectly viewed by some as the merciful end to a 13-month NFL investigation into one of their brightest young players.
This was not the only misconception in circulation, as another one of the most common comparisons I saw being made was that of Elliott's six game suspension coming off as too harsh when weighed against former New York Giants' kicker Josh Brown's one game suspension handed down on August 17th last year.
The Josh Brown case originally got 6 gms, was reduced to 1... I wonder if the NFL does something like that just to get the thing over with
Brown's suspension was of course another violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy, occurring in May of 2015 with a much clearer picture of Brown - according to his ex-wife Molly - physically abusing his partner more than 20 times over the course of several years.
It is very important to note that the NFL's investigation into Brown still took a lengthy ten months, as they arrived at the conclusion that, "investigators had insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations. In addition, no criminal charges were brought forward regarding the incident in question or prior allegations. The NFL therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident as provided to us by the District Attorney."
Ezekiel Elliott's case is eerily similar to Brown's when it comes to the cooperation of key witnesses and handling by the league as an above-all-else enforcer of policy, although the NFL reportedly reduced Josh Brown's suspension from the expected six games down to one for two key reasons that can further help Zeke in his potentially upcoming appeal of a six game ban.
"...there were two mitigating factors, from the league’s perspective. First, the NFL didn’t regard the incident as a serious instance of domestic violence, since Brown simply grabbed his now-ex-wife’s wrist. (Many would say that any incident of domestic violence is serious.) Second, the NFL considered its difficulty in getting cooperation from Brown’s now-ex-wife or from law enforcement to be a mitigating factor."
An Ezekiel Elliott appeal and "war" as Mike Fisher from 105.3 The Fan has been eluding to will only bring public more damning details about both Elliott's involvement with Tiffany Thompson and the NFL's handling of this case - perceived as so erroneous that long-time Cowboys reporter Charean Williams believes it will cost the Commissioner Roger Goodell his job.
On @ESPN_SA just now, @NFLCharean says "I truly believe Roger Goodell will lose his job over this
A ready-to-fight Jerry Jones and Ezekiel Elliott may very well know that there is even less wrongdoing by Zeke here than a "grab of a wrist", even with pictures of the victim Thompson surfacing again yesterday (signaling the start of this battle in the court of public opinion if nothing else).
Ezekiel Elliott responds via attorney @nflnetwork
As for the second point regarding Brown's case above, it appears that Elliott's camp has already taken a stance against any accusations of a lack of cooperation on their end or by the District Attorney in Ohio that dismissed this case.
Ezekiel Elliott did not "do nothing" here. That much is nothing but another misconception muddying the waters of an already blackened trail that began - and will end - with Elliott insisting his innocence against all charges of domestic violence that he committed with Tiffany Thompson.
Just how much of Elliott's suspension decision came down to that initial domestic violence incident remains unclear after reading the official letter Commissioner Goodell sent to Elliott.
I'm told #Cowboys Zeke Elliott is willing to take this whole suspension appeal through courts if he has to. This could drag out a long time.
A harsh truth here as Cowboys Nation digs in mentally for the "end" of this Ezekiel Elliott story to truly only be just the ugly beginning is that facts may never win out.
The NFL can and will do what it wants, proving so emphatically yesterday by enforcing a full six game suspension against Elliott that is consistent with a domestic violence offense that the league did not provide additional evidence of in regards to Elliott and his perceived guilt via Roger Goodell.
The shield could very well stick their foot in the ground and do everything possible to hold up this six game suspension, making an example out of Elliott - perhaps only that empowering victims beyond reasonable plausibility will be their new by-the-wayside standard when the next Ezekiel Elliott, or should I say Tiffany Thompson, comes along.
Conversely, Elliott could win out legally behind the support of the Dallas Cowboys and specifically Jerry Jones, following in the footsteps of Josh Brown well before he was blacklisted from the NFL - something the Cowboys have no intentions of doing with a player they'll continue to invest significant resources into as a face to America's Team.
What cost will this impossibly well-known face now have on the NFL, Roger Goodell, the NFLPA, and the Dallas Cowboys though? The answer to this cannot be derived from anything that occurred in Josh Brown's swift exit from the league unfortunately, as a suspension of any length will do nothing long-term to keep Ezekiel Elliott away from the brightest public spotlights and nearest official willing to hear his case of innocence.
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
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