The latest in Cowboys news is mostly dominated by Ezekiel Elliott’s court case, and the impact his absence might have on the team.
Even with the latest ruling, the Ezekiel Elliott court case continues on. First, the NFLPA filed an emergency motion with the same judge that had just ruled against them, Katherine Failla. You can imagine how that went.
In a ruling that will come as a surprise to no one, Judge Katherine Polk Failla already has denied the NFLPA’s request for an emergency injunction blocking Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension pending appeal.
“For the Court to grant the NFLPA’s motion for a stay at this stage would in effect be to reverse its decision of last night,” Judge Failla said in her ruling.
The NFLPA expected the decision and now will go to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals with an emergency motion asking for an injunction pending the appeal in that court.
And that is exactly what happened, Zeke’s lawyers moved on to the Second Circuit Court.
The NFL Players Association has filed an appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott as he continues to fight his six-game suspension from the NFL over domestic violence allegations.
Union lawyers say Elliott's suspension should be delayed until the court considers the issue. League lawyers had no immediate comment.
The lawyers will suggest that the “irreparable harm argument” was incorrectly ruled on by the judge.
Lawyers for the NFLPA said Failla was the first judge to have "concluded that professional athletes with short career spans do not face irreparable harm" when suspensions are enforced before appeals options have been exhausted.
They will also go after the argument that a fundamentally unfair arbitration is still valid based on the CBA agreement.
The union also said Failla made erroneous legal conclusions that deserve review by a three-judge appeals panel, particularly after an "unjust and fundamentally unfair arbitration."
That’s the legal side of things, there is also the football side of things, and the Cowboys are preparing for life without Zeke.
[Jerry] Jones said backup Alfred Morris will get "more carries" without Elliott. The two-time Pro Bowler has only 13 carries for 105 yards this yards, but a bulk of that came on a 70-yard carry against the Rams.
"He's probably the best I've ever played with running the zone game," All-Pro center Travis Frederick said of Morris. "His feel for it is really impressive, the way he makes his cuts."
The Cowboys' plan is a running back by committee unless someone separates himself. That means veteran Darren McFadden and Rod Smith will also get some chances.
Sure, the running backs are a key piece, but the play of the Cowboys offensive line might be even more important. If they can open up the holes, the Cowboys running game can still produce. And they need to give Dak Prescott time.
Elliott is gone now, so the pressure cranks up for all involved. Prescott has to be better. His line has to be perfect. The running backs have to be strong. The wide receivers have to get open and make plays. Your advantage has shrunk. It will be interesting how the Cowboys respond.
It will start with establishing your physical edge without taking penalties and surrendering sacks. All of the elite pieces that remain on this offense will be tested thoroughly starting Sunday against that very formidable Kansas City front. You may consider building in some help for our guy, Collins, at right tackle.
One of those offensive linemen, Tyron Smith, is battling back pain and seems to be on a veteran practice schedule.
Nobody is really saying it, but I wonder if Tyron Smith is on the "Romo Wednesday" plan with his back tightness. He has not practiced on a Wednesday in a few weeks. With that being the only day the Cowboys are in pads, they want to ease any of the stress of practice on Smith’s tight back. Former quarterback Tony Romo did not practice on Wednesdays late in his career because of back surgeries, and it seemed to serve him well. Smith could receive the same benefit, although there is something to the timing needed in the run game.
Will Cole Beasley be ready to go on Sunday? That’s a question after he suffered a concussion.
While the Cowboys might have to play this game without their starting running back, they’re hoping that will be the extent of the absences this Sunday against the Chiefs. Of course, the club will closely monitor the health of Cole Beasley, who left last week’s game against the Redskins with a concussion and didn’t return. Head coach Jason Garrett said Beasley showed positive signs on Monday morning when he returned to The Star. “Bease had a concussion during the game. But he was here this morning and he seemed good. So we’ll take his situation day-by-day,” Garrett said. Without Beasley, the Cowboys turned to rookie Ryan Switzer, who made a clutch third-down reception.
Will the Cowboys running game be able to succeed without Zeke? Everybody is asking that same question. They have the line to do it, and they hope they have the backup running backs to do it. How are the defenses against the run that they will play?
2. The Next Six
What are the Cowboys’ replacement backs facing these next six games, conceivably, without Elliott? Here’s how the next six opponents are defending the run this season:
Chiefs: 131.1 yards per game (28th); 4.9 yards per carry (29th)
Falcons: 102.1 yards per game (11th); 4.0 yards per carry (16th)
Eagles: 70.4 yards per game (1st); 3.8 yards per carry (12th)
Chargers: 135.1 yards per game (31st); 4.6 yards per carry (28th)
Redskins: 105.1 yards per game (13th); 4.0 yards per carry (18th)
Giants: 120.7 yard per game (23rd); 4.2 yards per carry (20th)
The pass rush has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for Dallas. But they aren’t resting on their laurels. They are still working out defensive ends.
As the NFL trade deadline approached Tuesday, the Cowboys worked out defensive end Owa Odighizuwa. The standout pass rusher out of UCLA was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2015 draft.
However, he was waived by the Giants in August, one day after being suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.