Whew. After Ezekiel Elliott received a six-game suspension by the NFL, the "this is only the beginning" comments were everywhere around us. And yes, it really was just the beginning. If you've somehow missed all of the developments of the Zeke case, you can catch up with Sean Martin's article from Friday morning. Without even waiting for an answer from Harold Henderson and company, the NFLPA filed a petition in federal court to vacate the arbitration award.
This was expected to go to court, and it is something we knew was going to happen. But filing the petition before Henderson even announced his decision sure took us by surprise.
A lot of the information out there so far, surely is outrageous for every Cowboys fan. The NFL has been showing inconsistency and hypocrisy for a long time, and we are all hoping this ends soon. Too bad it won't.
Inevitably, this whole deal about the NFL leading investigator Kia Roberts recommending the NFL to not suspend Elliott has given Cowboys Nation a sense of hope. A "hey, this just might turn all right" type of sense. And even though it may look promising, I'm here to tell you... don't get your hopes up.
Yes, the information looks promising. Roger Goodell and the NFL look like clowns. All of this seems unfair to Zeke. But when this is taken to court, it is not a matter of whether or not Ezekiel Elliott did what he is being accused of.
I've spoken to a few of lawyers this morning, some who have handled NFL-related cases. They don't believe the NFLPA wins this in court.
The truth is, whether we like or not, Roger Goodell is in his right to suspend Ezekiel Elliott. Even if it is not ethical, fair, right, correct or whatever you want to call it... the CBA grants this power to the NFL commissioner.
That is basically what will be reviewed in court. Does the NFL commissioner have the right to suspend Ezekiel Elliott? Were there procedural violations? I'm telling you right now, the fact that Lisa Friel is a New York Giants fan will not cut it. Not even the NFLPA calling this a "league-orchestrated conspiracy" will.
I know, I know. There's more reasons to think that Ezekiel Elliott's camp might win this thing in court. But once you calm down and take a deep breath after being on Twitter for a while... how good will these arguments be when faced to a league commissioner who has been given a ridiculous and unfair amount of power?
Ezekiel Elliott is going to end up playing against the New York Giants in the season opener for the Dallas Cowboys. He will more than likely end up playing all of the 2017 season while this drama drags through court. But after that, he will likely be suspended. Even if we're talking about next season.
Why? CBA, CBA, CBA.
Is There a Small Bit of Hope?
Of course there is. What if the NFL decides to make things right? Does it sound probable? Not much, but it is an interesting idea.
Best thing for NFL is to have Harold Henderson vacate suspension. Otherwise, bad federal court precedent looms. Would negate #Deflategate.
If the NFL has Henderson vacate the suspension, claiming something was done incorrectly and making up an excuse for it, it could be an interesting turn of events. Put all of this behind, and pretend nothing ever happened.
A Hail Mary from the NFL to save their perception before this is all taken to court might not be out of the question and it is worth discussing at least. As the tweet above mentions... could you imagine a scenario with Deflategate coming back? Can you imagine Roger Goodell finally saying goodbye to a possible extension?
The NFL is not doing things right, and I don't expect them to change anytime soon. This has not been fair, this has not been correct and this is far from over. If Elliott's suspension isn't vacated by Harold Henderson, I don't think Zeke will avoid missing six games. The NFL might need to wait until next year to see him suspended, but it will happen.
For now, Ezekiel Elliott and his camp are showing us what we all had imagined... they're not going without a fight.
Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?
Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.
It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.
I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.
I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.
Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.
Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.
The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.
Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?
Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.
It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.
Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.
Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.
This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.
Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.
Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."
Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.
It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.
Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.
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