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NFL’s “Brice Butler Rule” Now Set To Come With Warning

RJ Ochoa

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Brice Butler

You know people like to say "better late than never"? This isn't for those people. This is for those of us that have been harboring resentment at NFL officials pretty much since the beginning of time since January 15th, 2017.

You see it was on that day, with 5:55 left in the first quarter and the Cowboys trailing the Packers 3-7, that the NFL flexed their long arm of stupidity once again. Cowboys Wide Receiver Brice Butler was inexcusably charged with an Unsportmanlike Conduct penalty, but don't worry... they've fixed it so that it won't happen to anyone else. Yay.

Charean Williams on Twitter

NFL clarifies "Brice Butler Rule," will now issue a warning https://t.co/ZBtpxjFeV4

The "Brice Butler Rule" is about as silly as the one that says you have to wait thirty minutes to swim after eating. I don't care what type of nutritional science backs that other one up, it's dumb alright? Dean Blandino, Worst Judge, Juror, and Executor of NFL rules, oh wait I mean Senior Vice President of Officiating, even went as far as saying that this is a penalty that you don't see very frequently when discussing the upcoming changes to this monstrosity. No kidding, Dean.

"So there's language in the book that allows for a change in a coaching decision where a player or a group of players may come on the field and there's a change in the decision and they go off the field without participating in a play. We want to maintain a team's ability to do that. So we did discuss it and looked at the language, and we feel comfortable with the referee giving a warning if he feels that the team is trying to manipulate the situation, allowing the defense to match up in that situation and only penalizing if it's a subsequent act after a warning." per Charean Williams of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram

Apparently now officials are going to be allowed to warn a team of a potential violation of the Brice Butler Rule and ultimately penalize the team after said warning is given. I have two big problems with this personally, one phrase in particular. The phrase "if he feels" was part of the jargon used when this was news was announced by Charean Williams of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

"If He Feels" Isn't Objective, Rules Are Meant To Be Objective

Why why why are we going with a referee's feelings now? This isn't a This Is Us marathon, this is a world of finite details and parameters. There shouldn't be a subjective line drawn to where the referee is trying to measure a coach and their intentions with substitutions. I know this is minority opinion around Cowboys Nation, but I have no qualms about the Brice Butler Rule... if it's enforced that exact same way all the time.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Here's the exact exchange between @TroyAikman, @Buck, and @MikePereira on call and the furthest that Brice got into the huddle.

This whole mess is because Brice Butler supposedly "got into" the huddle, when you can see exactly how far he didn't go in. If there is any change that's necessary in my humble opinion, it needs to be the definition in terms of what's "in the huddle". If a player enters that the way Brice did, which I don't believe that Brice did (Confused? Read that again.), and is in violation of the set parameters... go ahead and throw your little flag. That's fair.

"If he feels" is opening a can of worms, and we're already trying to mop up the ones that spilled out when Dean Blandino's Dam of Non-Logic broke open once again, coincidentally during a Cowboys/Packers Divisional Playoff Game. Under the new intention of the rule it'll only be a matter of time before a referee throws a flag because he feels that a coach is trying to manipulate the situation via substitution, when he actually isn't.

This isn't hard, NFL. Just don't do dumb things.

Tell us what you think about "NFL’s “Brice Butler Rule” Now Set To Come With Warning" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend

Jess Haynie

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Mike Weber

Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.

One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.

Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.

A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.

Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.

If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.

Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber

The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.

Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.

This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.

Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.

But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.



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Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Graduating From Notre Dame

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Jaylon Smith Returns Cowboys to NFC East Prominence in Win Over Bucs

The 2019 season is right around the corner for the Dallas Cowboys, with OTA's and training camp getting ready to kickoff in the coming weeks/months.

Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith made the most of his offseason, going back to Notre Dame to finish out his college degree. Smith is set to graduate from Notre Dame this Saturday, and will walk to earn his degree in Film & Television.

Smith talked to DallasCowboys.com's David Helman about why it was so important for him to graduate and finish what he started at Notre Dame. 

“When I left after my junior year, I promised my mom that I would go back and finish...Finishing my third year with the Cowboys, it was time.” - Jaylon Smith

Michael Bertsch on Twitter

2,025 @NotreDame undergraduates will receive degrees during Commencement Weekend. That contingent includes @thejaylonsmith Yes, the current @dallascowboys & former @NDFootball All-American linebacker, who took 21 credits this spring #4for40 #GraduatingChampions #CEV

Smith continues his leadership on and off the field, and we all send our congratulations to the Cowboys starting MIKE linebacker!



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Ezekiel Elliott Snubbed from Top 25 Players Under 25 List

John Williams

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Should Cowboys Start Preparing for Life Without Ezekiel Elliott?

On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus published it's Top 25 Players Under 25, with Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch one of only three linebackers on the list. Oddly, one of the best players on the team was absent from this same list; Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.

The running backs they included were Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara. Pro Football Focus has been very open about their dislike of Elliott's 2018 season, ranking him 30th in the NFL according to their player grades.

Elliott has won the NFL's rushing title in two of his three seasons and likely would have won it in 2017 had he not been served with a league-mandated six-game suspension. Elliott ran for nearly 1,000 yards in the 10 games he played, which put him in 10th place in rushing in 2017. Le'Veon Bell led the NFL in rushing that season with 1,291 yards. Using some basic arithmetic, I've discovered that Elliott finished just 308 yards off the league lead in six fewer games.

https://twitter.com/PFF_Cowboys/status/1128700802422517761

Despite being the most productive back in the NFL in his first three years in the NFL, Elliott gets knocked because he sees such a high volume of carries and targets from the Dallas Cowboys offense.

On Wednesday, Mark Chichester of Pro Football Focus talked about the players who just missed the cut. Here's what he had to say about Ezekiel Elliott.

"There’s no doubt that Ezekiel Elliott is one of the top players at his position, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that his production is, in large part, thanks to the offense that Dallas has built around him. Over the last three years, Elliott ranks first in rushing attempts (868), rushing yards (4048), rushing yards after contact (2567) and first down conversions (219). However, his three-year rushing grade of 80.2 ranks ninth among the 36 backs with at least 300 attempts in that span, while his 0.119 missed tackles forced per attempt ranks tied for 27th among the same group." 

Mark Chichester - Pro Football Focus

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best running backs in the NFL, if not the best. There can be an argument for Todd Gurley or Le'Veon Bell, and maybe even Saquon Barkley, but if you aren't including Ezekiel Elliott in the discussion, the discussion is a bit flawed.

For three years, under Scott Linehan as the offensive coordinator, every team in the NFL knows that Elliott is going to get the ball and get the ball a lot. Primarily on first downs. Yet, Elliott continues to be productive and grind out his yards, even against heavily stacked fronts.

I understand the argument that Elliott wasn't very efficient with his touches in 2018, but when you are the primary focus for opposing defenses, it makes it difficult to be efficient. Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamar had the benefit of being coached by Andy Reid and Sean Payton who are considered creative offensive minds. Saquon Barkley had the benefit of Odell Beckham Jr keeping safeties honest.

While the Cowboys had Amari Cooper, the passing game still doesn't get near the respect that the Cowboys run game gets from opposing defensive coordinators. With Kellen Moore on board and the talk about presenting multiple formations for opposing teams to figure out, the Cowboys offense could get more creative in 2019.

Heading into his fourth year in the NFL, it's amazing that Ezekiel Elliott apparently still has something to prove to some out there. After winning rushing titles in two of his three seasons and averaging right around 100 yards a game, Elliott still doesn't get the respect he deserves from national observers.



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