Five days until the Cowboys are back on the field, let’s check the latest headlines.
NFLPA files for restraining order to again block Ezekiel Elliott suspension - ESPN.com
The NFL Players Association has filed a request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, seeking to put his six-game suspension on hold again, a source told ESPN's Josina Anderson.
The request will be argued Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to the source.
A federal appeals court last Thursday lifted an injunction that blocked Elliott's six-game suspension, clearing the way for the NFL's punishment over domestic violence allegations.
The bottom-line here is Elliott currently cannot participate in team activities and, barring a change, will not play Sunday against San Francisco. Expect a hearing on the temporary restraining order Tuesday and my guess is Elliott will win. Labor legal guy Daniel Wallach, whose covered the case exstensively, believes the judge will give the NFL a chance to respond in a Wednesday hearing:
I would expect Judge Failla to give NFL time to respond to NFLPA TRO motion. Hearing on Wed. still leaves enough time to rule before Sunday.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) October 17, 2017
He also believes Elliott’s fate will be determined one way or another this week:
After several detours, the 2017 playing status of Ezekiel Elliott will finally be resolved this week. Once and for all.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) October 17, 2017
It’s worth noting Wallach is bullish on Elliott eventually prevailing on issue of “fundamental fairness”; so there’s that.
NaVorro Bowman signs 1-year, $3M deal with Raiders - NFL.com - Kevin Patra
NaVorro Bowman has found a new home. The former 49ers linebacker has signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports.
The 29-year-old has struggled in coverage this season and was set to see his playing time diminish as the 49ers decided to move forward with younger players. But Bowman brings veteran savvy and tackling to a Raiders team in need of an upgrade up the gut. Oakland owns a bottom-tier rush defense that was gashed by Melvin Gordon on Sunday.
Have to admit I’m disappointed by this outcome. I thought Bowman would have been a terrific addition to a unit that is struggling mightily.
Arik Armstead needs surgery on broken hand, 49ers considering injured reserve - Niners Nation - James Brady
The injury bug continues to bite the 49ers as Arik Armstead is dealing with a broken hand.
Armstead was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2015, and missed eight games due to injury in 2016 as well. He had 1.5 sacks and 13 tackles this season, and has been a pretty consistent performer on a 49ers defense that has been fairly good at applying pressure, but not so good at actually getting sacks.
3 Bright Spots For Cowboys During Bye Week - Fanrag - John Owning
The start of the season hasn't gone according to plan for the Dallas Cowboys. Whether it's their 2-3 record, Ezekiel Elliott's ongoing...
The Cowboys pass rusher, who is finally healthy, has had an incredible start to the season, accumulating 8.5 sacks, 31 total pressures, and a pass rushing productivity rating of 16.8, per Pro Football Focus.
After two back surgery within a year, Lawrence’s future looked bleak, but he worked his tail off to improve and become the dominant force he’s been.
The Boise State product is a cerebral pass rusher who uses good footwork, powerful hands and impressive upper body mobility to bully and beat opposing offensive linemen.
Scheme Review: Should Cowboys abandon their zone defenses? - Cowboys Wire - Allan Uy
Through the first five games of the regular season, the Cowboys hold a frustrating 2-3 record as they enter their bye week. This break in Dallas’ schedule allows us to evaluate the team’s overall performance. Each week I chart all the offensive and defensive plays of the Cowboys.
Perhaps this data supports the fact that the Cowboys have a young defense with many new pieces that need more time to gel and learn to trust each other in their zone schemes. Maybe the data supports the ongoing criticism the team either struggles to execute basic zone concepts or that the coaches need to allow for more nuance and complexity in the defense.
Maybe the reality is both. Whichever it is, we’ll have to wait until Week 7 to see if the team can turn their fortunes around.
NFL owners, players meeting Tuesday to discuss protests - NFL.com - Judy Battista
NFL owners and players will gather in New York on Tuesday to discuss the national anthem controversy. Can a solution be reached to appease all sides? Judy Battista explores.
In earlier meetings, owners have told players they fear the players' message of seeking justice for racial inequality is not getting through, because so many fans misinterpret their protest as disrespect for the flag and the military. They have tried to brainstorm ways to take action that would help the players reach their goals -- financially supporting programs that players and the league identify that address some of the underlying issues, supporting legislation aimed at addressing some of the inequality (NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday the league would endorse a criminal justice reform bill in Congress) or bankrolling marketing campaigns focused on social injustice -- and as the owners' meeting grew closer, there was some optimism that players and the league would find common ground.
NFL to formally endorse criminal justice legislation, finance activism boot camp - CBSSports.com - Cody Benjamin
The league will put its stamp on federal legislation in the wake of protests for equality
The league's endorsement of such legislation, which Politico said on Oct. 4 is "aimed at easing sentences for some non-violent offenders, such as for drug crimes, while beefing up other tough-on-crime laws," represents a victory for peaceful-protest-driven activism, according to former NFL executive Joe Banner.
"[This] is a big win for players on the issues they brought up if they can get past [the] method of protest," Banner tweeted Monday. "Seize the moment."
This is likely only the beginning of formal league efforts spurned by Goodell's talks with players in the effort to turn player protests into action. From La Canfora's report from two weeks ago:
The latest Packers QB speculation isn’t *that* crazy - For The Win - Charles Curtis
Tony Romo to the Packers? Hmmmmm.
But I’m landing on no for this one, and let me take a turn at speculation: The only reason for Romo to come out of the booth — a job he’s excelling at and one that probably pays him very well — would be to have the best shot at winning that elusive ring.
The Packers were among the favorites out of the NFC with Rodgers at the helm. Now? With a hypothetical Romo who has to take time to learn the offense and his receiver’s tendencies and to get back into the rhythm of the game after taking so much time off? I’d actually be skeptical they could keep up with teams like the Seahawks and Panthers.
Tony Romo in a Green Bay Packer jersey would make my stomach turn. Finally, the NFL’s crazy season get broken down by the Monday Morning Quarterback:
NFL has no clear top-ranked team through Week 6 | SI.com - Peter King
An NFL Power Ranking of the top five teams? Good luck. Week 6 proved there’s no clear-cut Super Bowl favorite (sorry, Chiefs) in this wild season.
Usually, six weeks into the season, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s what in the NFL. After six weeks: New England was the best team in the AFC last year and went on to win the Super Bowl; Denver and Carolina were unbeaten in 2015 and went on to meet in the Super Bowl; Seattle and Denver were a combined 11-1 in 2013, and they met in the big one.
This year? If Week 6 records mean the most, it looks like Alex Smith and Carson Wentz meeting in the Super Bowl in Minnesota in 16 weeks.