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Dez Caught It…According to the NFL

One of the big issues on the NFL’s Competition Committee’s agenda this offseason was better defining what a catch is.

Kevin Seifert from ESPN’s NFL Nation tweeted the following this afternoon:

“The NFL competition committee appears to have unanimous agreement that controversial catch rulings involving Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson should have been ruled complete, according to Giants owner John Mara. So the committee is working on changing the rule to relax the “going to the ground” requirement.”

Pittsburgh Steelers TE, Jesse James, was not mentioned in this tweet, but one can only imagine that the AFC may have played out differently had Pittsburgh beat New England in week 15.

This does very little to soothe the pain Cowboy Nation still feels from the overturned catch in the 2014 NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers. Tony Romo and the Cowboys could have been in position for their first NFC Championship appearance since the 1995-1996 season.

Hindsight may be 20/20, but ‘too little, too late’ rings more true with this ruling.

#dezcaughtit

Cleveland Cavaliers Turn Roster Upside Down at Trade Deadline

The Cavs have almost half a new team after Thursday’s shenanigans.

First, they traded away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a protected 1st round pick to the LA Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. Clarkson is a young, quality starter who can pass and score with ease, but has some struggles on the defensive end. He is signed for the next two years at a not so cap friendly $13 million a year. Nance, on the other hand, is a show-stopping dunker, who can awe crowds with his posterizing slams.  Just ask Brook Lopez or Kevin Durant. If you haven’t seen him, wait until you see him in the dunk contest next weekend.

They weren’t done yet, no, not even close. Rodney Hood is coming to Cleveland from Utah, and George Hill is coming from Sacramento. Rodney Hood has a $3.5 million qualifying offer next season, and George Hill is under a partially guaranteed contract for the next two season. The Kings will get Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second round pick from Miami, while the Jazz will get Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose.

Finally, they traded Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat for a heavily protected second round pick.

To sum up….

The Cavs lost: Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose,
Dwyane Wade, and protected 1st round pick

The Cavs got: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood, and George Hill.

Every single player the Cavaliers got in this trade is signed through at least next year (or has qualifying offers). Not bad new Cavs GM, Koby Altman. Not bad at all.

The only question left to answer is, can the Cavaliers get everyone in sync in time for another playoff push? Who knows, but it will definitely be fun to watch it all unfold.

Ezekiel Elliott Gets Justice for Now with TRO…Will Play Beyond Week 1

Federal Judge Amos Mazzant has ruled in favor of Ezekiel Elliott with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for a preliminary injunction against the NFL. This means that Ezekiel Elliott will likely play for the entirety of the 2017 NFL season.

This timeline will be similar to Tom Brady’s ‘Deflategate’ case, in that it will likely not be decided on until after the season. Tom Brady did still serve his full 4 game suspension, mostly because of the way the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is written. Fighting and winning this injunction will be tough, but for now the Dallas Cowboys can focus solely on football.

Elliott’s 6 Game Ban Upheld for Now, But Will Play Week 1

NFL-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld the league’s entire 6 game suspension of Elliott on Tuesday evening after denying his appeal, but in a strange twist of events, league officials confirmed that Elliott will be allowed to play Week 1 versus the Giants.

After Henderson’s ruling, an NFL spokesman told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that Elliott’s eligibility for Week 1 “was a question asked by the judge in court before a ruling came down. In deference, and as to not rush the judge, league attorneys agreed to permit him to play.”

Although Elliott currently remains suspended for Weeks 2 through 7, the star running back still has hope via the U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, where the NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit on his behalf, requesting the court vacate the suspension on grounds that the NFL’s process was unfair. At a temporary hearing today, the NFLPA requested Judge Amos Mazzant to allow a temporary restraining order (TRO) of the league’s ruling that would prevent enforcement of the suspension until the conclusion of the lawsuit.

Judge Mazzant said he will make his decision on Elliott’s temporary restraining order by Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

NFL says “Ezekiel Elliott WILL Play Week 1”

As of Tuesday, September 5th at 6:30pm CST, there has not yet been a ruling for Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal case against the NFL.  **ARTICLE UPDATE: SEE BELOW

However, regardless of the NFL’s decision, the reigning rushing king will play week 1 when the New York Giants come to AT&T Stadium.

Mike Fisher from 105.3 The Fan tweeted earlier:

ALERT courtroom source to me: Judge Mazzant just askd if is onfield for this wk, even if HH rules. Answer: YES

The game will start at 7:30 local time, and will air on NBC.

GO COWBOYS!!!

**ARTICLE UPDATE BELOW

Elliott’s 6 Game Ban Upheld for Now, But Will Play Week 1

 

Dallas Cowboys 53 Man Roster 2017

These are the 53 players to make the cut for Dallas Cowboys for the 2017 NFL Season

QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore

RB/FB: Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, Keith Smith

WR: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown

TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim

OL: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, La’el Collins, Jonathan Cooper, Chaz Green, Joe Looney, Byron Bell

DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford Benson Mayowa, Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper

DT: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins, Brian Price

LB: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Jayrone Elliott, Justin Durant

CB: Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Bene Benwikere

S: Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier

K: Dan Bailey

P: Chris Jones

LS: LP LaDouceur

 

Suspended: David Irving (DE), Damontre Moore (DE), Randy Gregory (DE)

IR: Thomas Duke (CB), Rico Gathers

Practice Squad: Lance Lenoir (WR), Brian Brown (WR), Blake Jarwin (TE), Dan Skipper (OL), Nate Theaker (OL), Kadeem Edwards (OL), Richard Ash (DT), Lewis Neal (DT), Marquez White (CB), Jameill Showers (S)

Notable Players to Miss the Cut: Cedric Thorton (DT), Joey Ivie (DT), Marquez White (CB), Robert Blanton (S), Mark Nzeocha (LB)

Who Will Make the Cowboys 53 Man Roster?

The deadline for the NFL 53 man roster is tomorrow, Saturday September 2nd at 3pm CST. There are several players that are on the borderline of making the team, which means some very tough and a couple of interesting decisions for Jerry and Stephen. At least, the specialists seem to be an easy decision, with Dan Bailey, Chris Jones & LP LaDouceur.

Let’s start with the offense.

Quarterback: It looks as if the Cowboys will have 3 quarterbacks on the roster again, with Moore & Rush backing up Dak.

Running Back/Fullback: Zeke be on the 53 man roster while suspended, but with his status changing almost daily I am securing him a spot on the 53. Darren McFadden looks to be the clear #2 RB. Rod Smith looks to make the roster, and being able to play RB, FB, and special teams will definitely help his chances. Considering the Cowboys had 4 RBs and 2 FBs last year, it would be a jump for them to go down to 4 backs total, especially with the Zeke question mark. Look for Alfred Morris to be on the team. Unfortunately for Keith Smith, both Rod Smith and Geoff Swaim can play his position, but there still may be room for him.

Wide Receiver: There is a lot of young talent in this group and it will be difficult to pick between them. Dez, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Brice Butler are locks to make the roster. I would throw Ryan Switzer in there as well. That is the number of wide receivers that were on the roster last year, but with Jerry saying he thinks Noah Brown will make the 53, look to have the Cowboys to have 6 receivers in 2017. Andy Jones was making a case for himself, but kept dropping balls.

Tight End: Witten, Hanna, and Swaim will be on the team. I can’t see any way that Jerry let’s any team have a shot at signing Rico Gathers. With Gathers recent concussion in practice, look for Gathers to be on IR, with the possibility of coming back to the team in mid-October.

Offensive Line: All pros Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick are back, and Lael Collins look to be the starting right tackle in place of Doug Free. Left Guard is still up for grabs, but Jonathan Cooper’s ability to stay on the field may have the oft-injured Chaz Green in a backup role. Joe Looney’s versatility to play multiple positions will keep him on the team. The Cowboys will probably keep Byron Bell for some added depth.

 

Now onto the Defense

Defensive End: Demarcus Lawrence looks to reclaim the Cowboys sack leader for the year title after a down year in 2016. Benson Mayowa looks to repeat as sack leader and Taco Charlton will have something to say about that as well. David Irving is suspended for the first 4 games, but will be back for the Packers game in week 5. Damontre Moore looked great in the preseason, and may have Charles Tapper on the practice squad.

Defensive Tackle: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford will be a good 3 man rotation in the middle of the defensive line. Cedric Thorton and Joey Ivie have the possibility to both make the roster, but will likely be only one of them securing a spot. Richard Ash will likely not make the team, as he was mostly signed to give rest to starters in week 17.

Linebacker: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson will be on the team. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys put Anthony Hitchens on the IR to open up another roster spot. Kyle Wilber and Mark Nzeocha look to make the team, but this may be a position that the Cowboys look for a trade or free agent as well.

Cornerback: No real standouts at this position, but looks to be Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis. Marquez White is a big maybe. Another position that team management could look elsewhere for talent.

Safety: Byron Jones will start, the other position is up for grabs. Will is be Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, or Xavier Woods. Robert Blanton will likely be the odd man out at the safety position.

QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore

RB/FB: Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, Keith Smith

WR: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown

TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim

OL: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, La’el Collins, Jonathan Cooper, Chaz Green, Joe Looney, Byron Bell

DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa, Taco Charlton, David Irving, Damontre Moore

DT: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thorton, Joey Ivie

LB: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Mark Nzeocha

CB: Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis

S: Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier

K: Dan Bailey

P: Chris Jones

LS: LP LaDouceur

Takeaways from the Cowboys HOF Game

The Hall of Fame game is played  every year a week before the preseason starts, and is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage. The antics going on before, during and after are more of a spectacle than game itself, and pretty much anything taken from the game should be taken with a grain of salt. Since there hasn’t been any football to watch in the past six months, let’s go ahead and do exactly that.

 

Rico Gathers

Rico Gathers showed off his athleticism and hands with 3 catches for 59 yards, including a 26 yard touchdown. Gathers was not playing against a top notch defense, but this is a big stride for him since he could barely get on the field at all last preseason. While he may not have the football acumen of the average young player (due to not playing organized football for almost a decade), his athleticism will be able to bridge some of those gaps. It may be a stretch to say he will be seeing the field a lot during the regular season, but a good preseason could earn him a spot on the 53 man roster this year. Being on that roster could do wonders for him by being able to soak up as much knowledge as possible, from Canton-bound TE Jason Witten.

 

Taco Charlton

The Cowboys’ first round draft pick this year was met with many questioning faces, not because it was a bad pick, but rather it was a surprising one. Many thought the Cowboys would go after a defensive back, but they instead took an inconsistent talent with a high upside. Taco might as well have not even showed up for this game. During the 16 snaps he was in, Taco was very rarely involved in the play, and when he was he almost always seemed to be caught out of position. I’m not going to be too quick to judge on this kid, but this pick definitely continues to be “big risk, big reward”. Let’s hope we come out on the right side of that reward.

 

Rod Smith

With both Ronnie Hillman and Darren McFadden looking awful (add that grain of salt considering the line they were playing behind), Rod Smith may be able to secure a roster spot for himself at fullback or running back. Smith got more snaps, rushes, and receptions than any other Cowboy running back for the night and looked like a competent NFL player. With Zeke’s status for the beginning of the season still in doubt due to his conduct off the field, the Cowboys will need to have a threat in the backfield with Dak. A good preseason could push Smith to as high as #2 on the depth chart, behind Zeke.

Chidobe Awuzie

Chidobe has been impressive during training camp, and continued that during the HOF game. He had a pass deflection that was inches away from being an interception he likely would have taken back for a touchdown. Add two tackles and always being in position to make a play, and Chidobe had a decent showing for his first game.

 

Jason Garrett

Another blown challenge in this game for Jason Garrett. While it may have be a good time for a challenge, considering it would’ve stopped the Cardinals from putting points on the board; it was obvious that the runner was down before he fumbled, both live and on the replay. I will, however, give Garrett the benefit of the doubt since the Cardinals were rushing to the line to snap the ball. Since starting his career off 12-19 on challenges, Garrett is 8-18 on challenges in the last four seasons. Let’s hope that Garrett’s Princeton education will intervene more on his challenge decisions in 2017.

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