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Cowboys News: Ezekiel Elliott cleared to keep playing, for now

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Ezekiel Elliott and the NFLPA won a temporary restraining order in a New York federal court, clearing him to play the next two weeks, at least.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott granted another legal reprieve on suspension - Mark Maske, The Washington Post

Though Elliott lost an appeal in the 5th Circuit, which had negated the preliminary injunction Elliott gained before Judge Mazzant for lack of jurisdiction (ruling the NFLPA filed its case too soon), he then filed in the New York court where the NFL had already filed seeking to wrest control of the case from Texas courts. Today, he won another two-week reprieve.

The temporary restraining order was granted by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty. It will remain in effect until Oct. 30 or until the presiding judge in the case, Katherine Polk Failla, rules on the NFLPA’s request for a preliminary injunction.

The NFL had declared Elliott’s suspension to be in effect beginning this week after convincing a federal appeals court in New Orleans to last week lift the preliminary injunction that had been granted to the NFLPA by a federal judge in Texas.

The courtroom maneuvering has kept Elliott in the Cowboys’ lineup despite the suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the decision by league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson to uphold Goodell’s suspension.

Here’s a key snippet from yesterday’s decision.


Are the Cowboys already in must-win territory? - Brandon George, DMN

Yes is the correct answer to this question.

Question: Are we already in "must-win" territory Brandon?

George: Not yet, but it's not far from it either. Certainly, the Cowboys need to beat a winless 49ers team coming off of their bye week. A loss at San Francisco on Sunday would be a mess. This will be the 49ers first home game in a month. And their last 5 losses have come by 3 points or less.

Don't be fooled by winless Niners - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Cowboys cannot afford to take this game lightly, and no one expects they will.

To go with the rebuilding theme, it’s no surprise the 49ers are turning to rookie C.J. Beathard as the starting quarterback going into Week 7. Beathard threw his first NFL passes in the second quarter Sunday against the Washington Redskins, completing 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 26-24 loss. The third-round pick out of Iowa showed enough to win the starting job over veteran Brian Hoyer. “By no means were things perfect, but the game is not too big for the guy,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He comes in and doesn’t hesitate. He’s extremely tough. [He] came in there and gave us a little bit of a spark.”

Grading the rookies after five games - Cole Patterson, BtB

Here’s an overview on the Cowboys’ rookies. We’ll stick to the most positive report.

Jourdan Lewis fell in the 2017 draft due to his size (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) and off-the-field concerns. The Cowboys are very fortunate that such a talent fell to them at the end of day two. Lewis has been one of the Cowboys’ best players on the defensive side of the ball this season. His ability to tackle in the open-field, defend on the outside, and compete on every snap has quickly made him a fan-favorite. The former Michigan defensive back did give up the final touchdown of week five’s loss, but that is going to happen occasionally in this league, especially an Aaron Rodgers pass with the game on the line. Besides, Lewis played pretty well for the most part in that game.

Lewis has been a big-time player for the Cowboys this season. 27 picked off his first pass in week two (his first career game), showcased his impressive open-field tackling ability on Monday Night Football in week three, and even tackled Todd Gurley in space in week four. He played solid coverage against the Packers’ receiving corps, too.

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Eligible to Resume Practice - Sean Martin, Inside the Star

We ought to find out soon enough whether the concussion symptoms are still inhibiting Rico Gathers. The explosiveness he was demonstrating in pre-season is missed.

TE Rico Gathers, placed on IR to start the season after suffering a serious concussion in practice, is now eligible to return to the practice field.

Gathers may very well still have a long way to go in contributing this season at TE, where his second year in transitioning from NCAA basketball to NFL football got off to a flying start in the preseason.

There was legitimate hope that – even with their general lack of creativity on offense – the Cowboys and Scott Linehan would be able to get return on their investment in Gathers in the passing game this season.

He will first be eligible to play in week nine, when the Dallas Cowboys host the Kansas City Chiefs – with Tony Romo on the call of his first Dallas game.

Why Dak Prescott Will Crush Tony Romo's Dallas Cowboys Legacy - Jason Alsher, Sports Cheat Sheet

One commentator’s view. He lays out several arguments, but this is likely the one with the best chance.

True legacies are forged in the postseason. That’s the way it’s always been. For all his success, Romo was never able to get the job done in the playoffs. He finished his career with a 2-4 mark in the postseason and is most remembered for that infamous botched hold on a potential game-winning field goal against Seattle in the 2006 wild-card round.

Dak needs to win in the playoffs. He hasn’t done it yet, but it’s easily the fastest way for him to eclipse his predecessor. Don’t be surprised when Prescott starts handling his business in the postseason.

In Ezekiel Elliott's absence, could Rod Smith emerge for Cowboys? - Todd Archer, ESPN

Archer mistakenly assumed that Zeke would be out Sunday; thus the headline. But in his five wonders, he also touches on the trade deadline. Given the Cowboys extra selections next year due to lost free agents, which are now tradeable assets, one wonders if they can’t do a lot better than adding a Ben Benwikere via trade. Safety or linebacker could be prime spots worth filling with upgrades.

The trade deadline is Oct. 31, so I wonder if the Cowboys will be buyers or sellers. Actually, no, I don’t. I don’t see the Cowboys making a move of note before the deadline. The last time they made a big move was when they acquired wide receiver Roy Williams in a trade with Detroit in 2008. That deal did not work out so well for the Cowboys, who gave up first- and third-round picks to get Williams. I will forever believe part of the reason owner Jerry Jones made the deal was to deflect some of the attention off the suspension of Adam Jones. Given how the Cowboys have drafted lately under scouting director Will McClay’s watch, I don’t see them giving up major assets. Nor do I see them giving up players. For fans pining for a Terrance Williams-for-Martavis Bryant trade, that is not based in reality.

Dallas Cowboys' focus has to get back to game after week off - Todd Archer, ESPN

With the bye over, it’s time for the Cowboys to get back to work.

Prescott is just 21 starts into his NFL career, but the Cowboys already have elected him a captain and will follow his lead.

“I think just make sure nothing changes,” Prescott said. “I think we’re doing enough. We’ve just got to keep going. I think the approach of the leadership roles within our team are making sure we’re staying focused. We’re not getting down on ourselves. We’re not losing confidence from one player or from one unit or from the team. Staying focused.”

Garrett will lean on his leadership council, a group of more than a dozen players from every position group that includes Jason Witten, Prescott, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee and others.

“We rely on those guys to lead our football team,” Garrett said. “They have great credibility with me, with their teammates and with their coaches, so they’re certainly guys we count on to lead our football team day in and day out and respect their thoughts on things. The biggest thing we want to do is simply to get back to work. I think they understand that more than anybody else.”