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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension: Can The Josh Brown Case Help Cowboys?

Sean Martin

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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension: Can The Josh Brown Case Help Cowboys?

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.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

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 Suspension: How The Josh Brown Case Helps Cowboys

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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.

According to Pro Football Talk:

"...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.

Jason Minnix on Twitter

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).

Jane Slater on Twitter

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.

Charles Robinson on Twitter

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.

Ezekiel Elliott Suspension: How The Josh Brown Case Helps Cowboys 2

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.

Tell us what you think about "Ezekiel Elliott Suspension: Can The Josh Brown Case Help Cowboys?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Does Darius Jackson Have A “Puncher’s Chance” Of Landing On Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

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Darius Jackson, Bengals

Remember Darius Jackson?

The sixth round running back was an instant fan favorite of Cowboys Nation, as the fanbase hoped Dallas had found the explosive RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott they needed in the very same draft. Jackson, however, had an up-and-down preseason in 2016 and ended up being waived from the team to make room for Darren McFadden later in the year.

Jackson has bounced around the league a bit since then, joining both the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at different points. He's back with the Cowboys, however, looking to fight his way onto the team's final roster.

But does the fourth year running back have more than a puncher's chance to do so?

The Cowboys spent much of the 2019 NFL Draft rebuilding their running back depth. First, they drafted Memphis back Tony Pollard hoping to find a versatile and dynamic threat to compliment the workhorse that is Ezekiel Elliott. Then, in the seventh round, Dallas took another Ohio State running back in Mike Weber who fits more of the "traditional" running back form.

So with two new touted rookies behind the veteran Elliott, and fullback Jamize Olawale more than likely having a roster spot as well, there doesn't seem to be room for Darius Jackson on the Dallas Cowboys.

That didn't stop him from competing at OTAs, however. DallasCowboys.com named Darius Jackson one of their top ten "head turners" from the OTA practices, and considering that Mike Weber is banged up at the moment, Jackson will certainly have his opportunities to fight for that spot.

Still, the odds suggest that Darius Jackson will not be with the Cowboys come the Fall of 2019. Though he entered the league with some fanfare for a day three pick, his production has been more fitting of his draft grade than of his fan hype.

Jackson hasn't been the explosive player/receiving back that they're hoping Tony Pollard will be, nor has he been the every-down type backup runner that they seem to hope Mike Weber will be.

In the end, the Cowboys-Darius Jackson story is likely to close during this year's training camp.



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Cowboys Camp: Strong Safety Battle One to Watch

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Secondary Play, Improved OL Play Stand Out in Cowboys Win Vs. Giants

When the Dallas Cowboys head to Oxnard, California for the start of training camp in late July, they'll have most of the roster settled. On paper, they're a team that doesn't have many holes on the depth chart.

They've added depth at every position and added playmakers on both sides of the football. On defense, there appears to be only one position where the starter heading into training camp may not be the starter come week one. Strong safety.

Veteran Safety Jeff Heath is currently running with the first team defense through the offseason portion of practices. George Iloka and Donovan Wilson were added to the strong safety depth chart featuring Heath and special teams ace Kavon Frazier.

While most teams would be excited about having a returning starter at the position, Heath's 2018 left a lot to be desired. Per Pro Football Focus, Heath missed 19 tackles on the season, which was second in the NFL. It seemed that Heath became more interested in attempting to strip the ball out of the ball carrier's hands than actually making the tackle, which became increasingly frustrating as he forced only a single fumble all season long. Though he had a lot of missed tackles, Heath did finish 15th in the NFL in Pro Football Focus' "stops," which are defined as a "play that results in a loss for the defense." Heath was third on the team in total tackles with 85 and tied with Jaylon Smith for third in tackles for loss with six.

The biggest competition for Heath at strong safety will be veteran George Iloka.

Signed to a one-year contract after spending time with the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings, Iloka comes to the Dallas Cowboys adding depth at free safety behind Xavier Woods. He also creates competition for Heath at strong safety, which should help Jeff Heath raise his game and get more consistent with his tackling. Iloka has experience and brings good size and length to the secondary, which should help them defend tight ends in the passing game.

Because of his injury, Kavon Frazier could see his playing time evaporate heading into 2019. If he's unable to get healthy and make an impression early, Frazier could miss out on the 53-man roster when the team makes their final roster cuts.

The player that stands to benefit the most from Kavon Frazier's injury, and the one I'm most interested in watching in the Dallas secondary the rest of the preseason is sixth-round draft pick, Donovan Wilson. The rookie from Texas A&M has made several plays in the secondary that stood out during OTAs. Here's what Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com had to say about Donovan Wilson during last week's minicamp.

"I haven’t written much about Donovan Wilson since rookie minicamp, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to mention a nice play he had during the two-minute drill. Kris Richard came with a blitz, which forced Cooper Rush to throw “hot” to Dalton Schultz. Wilson, from several yards away, saw Schultz look up and drove on the ball, arriving at the exact time it hit Schultz’s hands. With his left hand Wilson was able to drag the ball away, knocking it to the ground."

Bryan Broaddus - DallasCowboys.com

Wilson will be a player to watch in training camp. The Cowboys have had success finding defensive backs in the late rounds of the draft. Anthony Brown was a fifth-round pick in 2016 and Xavier Woods was a sixth-round selection in 2017. Now Wilson, with his aggressive and physical demeanor will have an opportunity -- this year or next -- to carve out some playing time in a secondary that needs more players who can create turnovers.

Strong safety is one of the few starting spots where there is actual competition for the incumbent starter. Pretty much every other position has returning starters locked into the starting lineup or, in Travis Frederick's and Robert Quinn's cases, a significant talent upgrade that makes them day-one starters.

The competition at strong safety should help everyone be better for the Cowboys in 2019. If Heath is able to hold off Iloka and Wilson to remain the starter, then he will have once again earned it. With the depth they have this season, including two guys who won't be liabilities in pass coverage, the Cowboys have options if Heath misses tackles in 2019 as he did in 2018.



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Dallas Cowboys Shouldn’t Add a Veteran Backup Quarterback

John Williams

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How Will Coaching Changes Impact Cowboys' Backup QB Battle?

With offseason training activities and minicamps coming to a close, now begins the wait for July 27th and the first day of training camp practice in Oxnard, California for the Dallas Cowboys. In my nearly 20 years following the Dallas Cowboys, this is the deepest and most talented roster I can remember the Cowboys taking to training camp.

Of course, there are areas of weakness, especially when you compare them to other position groups. Unfortunately, there isn't always a simple fix to said area of weakness. If you're looking for one area of complaint, you could point to backup quarterback.

Cooper Rush and Mike White have a combined three regular season attempts between the two of them. I wouldn't hold that against them though, because the reason they only have three attempts between them -- and really it's just Cooper Rush has three attempts -- is because Dak Prescott has been such a durable quarterback that those other guys aren't getting into games.

The only time Cooper Rush has appeared in a game was during lopsided wins against the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 and a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

The reports coming out of OTAs and minicamp are that Cooper Rush and Mike White haven't had very good practices. Reports of interceptions have a portion of Cowboys Nation concerned about the quarterback position after their franchise quarterback.

Those reports can offer some insight into how things are going, but they should hardly be taken completely at face value. Remember what Allen Iverson said, "We talkin bout practice." Just like we shouldn't get too hyped about what Dorance Armstrong or Dak Prescott are doing in practice, we shouldn't overreact to some bad practices by your backup quarterbacks. Remember, they're largely throwing to guys who are undrafted free agents and are likely to be released when the team trims their roster to 53.

So much of where the concern about the backup quarterback position comes from is because of the recent history this team has had with losing its starting quarterback to injury. Tony Romo missed games in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. That's six out of 11 seasons where he was the starting quarterback heading into training camp in which he missed at least one game in a season.

Dak Prescott hasn't missed a start since his sophomore season at Mississippi State in 2013. That's five straight seasons between college and the NFL that Dak Prescott has been available for his team. In 2013, he was splitting snaps with the Bulldogs senior quarterback, but since 2013, has been available for 88 of his team's 90 games. Dak's started 51 straight games for the Dallas Cowboys in three seasons and has the strength and durability to continue to do just that.

Dak Prescott isn't Tony Romo. According to DallasCowboys.com, Dak Prescott measures at 6-2, 238 pounds. That's huge for an NFL quarterback. Romo was 6-2, 230. Romo, however, never looked as strong or thick as Dak Prescott. He always looked more slender playing the quarterback position and his durability was a concern. So far in Dak's career, durability hasn't been an issue, therefore the quarterback position is less of an issue.

The recent history of 2015, when Tony Romo went down and the season went with it, has many leery of going into a season with unproven commodities. But in that 2015 season, they had "proven" commodities at the quarterback position and those players went 2-11 in the starts that Tony Romo missed.

The free agent quarterback market doesn't look all that enticing at this point in the offseason. And that should be obvious. Any quarterback that was worth signing is already on a team. What you're left with is a who's who of bad quarterback options that wouldn't give you much more confidence in that Rush or White if necessary.

  • Matt Cassell - Been there, done that.
  • Brandon Weeden - See above.
  • Mark Sanchez - See Above.
  • Brock Osweiler - Miami, Denver, and Houston did that, chose to go another direction.
  • Derek Anderson - not a terrible option, but not necessarily better than what you have.
  • Josh Johnson - Pass.
  • Geno Smith - The New York Giants didn't want him. Very Hard Pass.

There isn't a free agent quarterback that makes sense. They're either old descending quarterbacks or young retreads that have been through a few different organizations and haven't been able to find a landing spot. Let's get into training camp and the preseason and see what Mike White and Cooper Rush do in a game-like situation before making a definitive evaluation.

With Kellen Moore and Jon Kitna as Dak Prescott's main coaching influences in 2019, there's no need for a veteran backup quarterback to "mentor" Prescott at this point in his career. Moore was always considered a very smart player that was viewed as a future coach. Kitna was one of the better backup quarterback options during his career and has spent time coaching in the high school ranks. Dak couldn't have two better guys in his ear during the week or on gameday. A veteran quarterback doesn't really add anything to what these two already bring.

The Cowboys are content to see how the backup quarterback battle plays out between Mike White and Cooper Rush. Let these guys get as many snaps as they can in training camp and the preseason and if, for some reason, neither guy steps up and you feel like you need to add a veteran, then go grab Mark Sanchez since he knows the offense and has a good relationship with Dak Prescott.



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