Cowboys News: La’el Collins sues NFL, Elliott misses practice, Jaylon to Green Bay

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As expected, the release of Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith dominated headlines Wednesday. While the team’s official stance was predictably vague, several of Smith’s teammates had very pointed opinions. One of his fellow linebackers has lashed out at fans who he feels take for granted their right to criticize players personally. Smith, meanwhile, seems to have found a new home already… although whether or not he makes them better is up for debate. What certain is there’s a new culture suddenly dawning in Dallas.

Elsewhere, offensive lineman La’el Collins isn’t done battling the league over his suspension, even though just two games remain. He’s sued the NFL and its commissioner over the punishment he believes to be against CBA rules. The Cowboys’ lead running back sat out practice with a sore knee; find out what it means for Week 5 and why it didn’t stop him from picking up accolades for Week 4. One of his defensive teammates was also named an award-winner for his performance last Sunday on the other side of the ball. All that, plus one last look back at the win over Carolina before the team turns the page fully to the New York Giants. Here’s the News and Notes.

Dallas Cowboys' La'el Collins sues NFL, seeks injunction over substance-abuse ban :: ESPN

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Collins has sued the league and commissioner Roger Goodell, seeking an injunction to stop the remaining two games of a five-game ban. The suit claims the suspension was levied for missed drug tests, even though last year’s CBA no longer allowed suspensions for that reason. Failing to cooperate with the league, however, can be grounds for punishment; the lawsuit claims the NFL wrongfully made that determination of Collins. The league called the lawsuit “meritless.”

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott sits out Wednesday practice with knee discomfort :: Cowboys Wire

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Elliott did not participate in the team’s practice session on Wednesday, claiming a “management day” for a sore knee. He says he’ll be ready to work Thursday and is expected to start on Sunday against the Giants. Amari Cooper also sat out, but he, too, plans to play in Week 5. Trevon Diggs practiced fully after taking a cleat to the back versus Carolina.

For Cowboys' LBs, a harsh business reminder :: The Mothership

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Leighton Vander Esch’s phone started blowing up. Micah Parsons found out from his mom. When news broke that their teammate had been cut, things changed in an instant. The rookie called it his “Welcome to the NFL moment.” Vander Esch revealed that Smith left a note for the Cowboys players; defensive coordinator Dan Quinn shared it with them Wednesday. And then game prep went on for the linebackers left behind.

Cowboys coach calls Jaylon Smith's release 'a big-picture roster move' :: Cowboys Wire

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When the Cowboys could find no trade partners for Jaylon Smith, they tried to convince him to come down from the injury-clause guarantee in his contract. When he refused, his diminished snap count and place on the pecking order made him expendable. “There’s obviously multiple factors that go into these decisions,” McCarthy said the day after releasing him. “This is a big-picture roster move. As far as us moving forward, we just felt that this was the right time.”

Packers finalizing deal with Jaylon Smith after release from Cowboys :: Ian Rapoport (Twitter)

The Cowboys wisely made Packers worse with Jaylon Smith :: Fansided

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Whether it was age or bad scheme or being too focused on the wrong things, Smith’s play on the field had been in decline for some time. “Jaylon Smith’s production is now a Packers problem, not a Cowboys one,” writes Aryanna Prasad. “Smith is expected to be an improvement at the position for the Packers, but if his trajectory continues the way it has since 2020, Smith brings slow reactions and late reads” to a team that Dallas just might see in the postseason.

After further review: Jaylon Smith’s release speaks volumes about new Cowboys culture :: Blogging the Boys

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If Smith’s release feels like a very un-Cowboys thing for the Cowboys to do, maybe that’s the point. Before McCarthy came, the team’s culture had often been slammed for seeming too soft, giving certain players special treatment because of their pay grade or their relationship with owner Jerry Jones. With the unceremonious cut of Smith, there’s clearly a new sheriff in town.

Leighton Vander Esch rips fans on social media after Dallas Cowboys release Jaylon Smith :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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The fourth-year linebacker had things to say regarding what he saw on social media about the release of his teammate. “We don’t go talking about someone else’s job, so why are they talking about our jobs? It’s super frustrating. It’s annoying. I think it’s classless,” read part of Vander Esch’s lengthy post. “People need to realize what they’re saying is literally just like nonsense. And I think that’s a big problem in the world today. And they need to cut that out.”

Ezekiel Elliott named FedEx Ground Player of the Week :: Dallas Cowboys (Twitter)

3 Stars: Diggs continues interception streak, Prescott and Elliott dominate :: Cowboys Wire

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One last look back at the trio of Cowboys stars who shined brightest in the 36-28 win over the previously-unbeaten Panthers. All three are, as the coaches love to say, “playing at a very high level” right now.

Trevon Diggs earns NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors :: Dallas Cowboys (Twitter)

How deep do you trust, love these 2021 Cowboys as they reach the (almost) quarter mark? :: Cowboys Wire

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“Is this year’s club my latest Cowboys crush, or is this something potentially more serious?” asks Rafael Vela. Joe Philbin’s offensive line, the dangerous running back duo, Dak Prescott executing Kellen Moore’s passing attack, and the so-far-so-good play of tight ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz can give Cowboys fans something to believe in.

Week 4's Sounds From the Sideline is a bleeping good watch :: Dallas Cowboys (Twitter)

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