The latest Dallas Cowboys news on Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension appeal decision revolves around his eligibility to play in the first week of the 2017-18 NFL season. Elliott was suspended for six games by the league several weeks ago, which would ultimately rule him out of playing in Week 1 if the suspension stands. However, it had also been reported that Elliott might be eligible to play in Week 1 if there was no decision reached by a certain time on Tuesday afternoon. It appears that initial report was based on status for his salary payment for the game, though.
As Bleacher Report indicated on Tuesday, there is “no deadline” for when independent arbitrator Harold Henderson has to reach his decision on Elliott’s suspension. There had previously been a report from NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport suggesting that if there wasn’t a ruling made on Elliott’s appear by 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, he would be eligible for the Cowboy’s Week 1 game on Sunday. That game is scheduled for Sunday night against the New York Giants. Rapoport later clarified that he was reporting with regards to Elliott’s eligibility to be paid for Week 1. If he’s on the active roster past 4 p.m. Eastern Time with no suspension ruling yet, he could still be paid for Week 1.
Even though there has yet to be ruling, there seems to be a consensus that Elliott won’t be playing in that first game of the season. At Vegas Insider, the Dallas Cowboys are currently listed as 3.5-point favorites to win at home against the New York Giants, although Dallas first opened as a six-point favorite. As of this report, Odell Beckham Jr. and Ezekiel Elliott are both listed as question marks for whether they’ll play in that game. Beckham Jr. is still nursing an ankle injury he suffered during the team’s preseason game versus the Cleveland Brown. ESPN reported he rode a stationary bike during the team’s practice this past week.
In a report earlier on Tuesday from ESPN, the New York Giants indicated their game plan will stay the same whether Ezekiel Elliott is playing or not. Head coach Bob McAdoo spoke about his team’s focus heading into Sunday night’s division matchup.
“Listen, our focus is on preparing for Dallas, and all backs run the same when there is nowhere to run. So our goal is to do our job and be prepared to stop the run — and if he’s playing, great; if he’s not, then that’s great. We are going to play whoever suits up for them.”
As a rookie, Elliott’s first regular season game was against the New York Giants. Elliott had 20 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Elliott’s backup, who could now be the starter is Alfred Morris. He had seven carries for 35 yards in that 20-19 loss against the Giants. The Giants defeated Dallas in their second meeting last December. In that game, Elliott had 24 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown.
The Cowboys will also look to Darren McFadden to generate some offense on the ground. It’s still unknown which of these two backs might get more of the carries on Sunday should Elliott not participate. However, Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said, “It’s still the same scheme” with regards to how the defense views trying to stop Morris and McFadden, indicating “those guys are still really good backs. So I don’t think their scheme changes much.” By Sunday night, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will have a much better idea of which backs will be on the field.
The New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium with game time slated for 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.
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