Key dissenter in Ezekiel Elliott case leaves league office

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Kia Roberts, a rare voice of reason and caution in the NFL’s Ezekiel Elliott investigation, has left the league office, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Meanwhile, NFL senior V.P. of investigations Lisa Friel, whose credibility was called into question by one of the federal court rulings issued in the case, continues to be employed by the league, even though her work in both the Josh Brown case and the Elliott case raises real questions about her fitness for the job.

Then again, maybe she’s simply doing her job perfectly. The league’s effort to investigate and discipline players for off-field misconduct seems to be less about justice and more about P.R. Friel’s job could be, and perhaps is, to bridge the gap between facts and law on one hand and the outcome the league wants on the other — and to take the heat when things get periodically messy, so that others working at 345 Park Avenue will never face the blowback that comes from the perception/reality that the league was too soft on a player who possibly, maybe, might have committed a crime.

Rawls signed with the Jets today, the team announced.

While I’d imagine defense probably does get undersold a little in All-NBA voting, the evidence suggests that elite offense is somewhat more valuable than elite defense. Results of pure adjusted plus-minus (including RAPM, the forerunner of ESPN’s real plus-minus that considers only team performance with and without a player) show a wider spread of ratings on offense than defense — that is, the best offensive players help their offenses more than the best defensive players help their defenses.

@kpelton Coach of the Year thought. Since it’s often expectation vs result, would you be able to plug in actual minutes played to your preseason projection model and see which teams overachieved the most?flames_003

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Why are NFL teams using those pop-up medical tents on their sidelines?

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The NFL is taking a new approach toward diagnosing injuries, particularly concussions, on the playing field, and it’s going to take up some prime real estate on the field level.

The Cowboys were riding high after Week 1’s win over the hapless Giants. Then they lost to the Broncos in a 42-17 blowout, and it raises a fair question: Is this Cowboys team destined for yet another early exit from the playoffs?

It’s become a hallmark of this Dallas team. The Cowboys haven’t made it past the Divisional Round since 1995, and last year’s 13-3 team lost a heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers in divisional play after earning the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.

Hopes were high for this team heading into the season. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott both had stellar rookie seasons, and Dallas boasts the best offensive line in the league. The team made moves this offseason to shore up the other side of the ball. The NFC East isn’t exactly shaping up to be the strongest division. Even considering how the Cowboys looked against the Broncos, there’s no reason to think this team can’t get to the postseason again.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander initially pledged $4 million to relief, matching the Astros’ donation — but upped that on Tuesday to $10 million. The team’s initial statement said:

“Out hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family and neighbors are experiencing,” the Rockets said in a statement. “Leslie Alexander has contributed $4 million to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund in an effort to help Clutch City come back stronger than ever. Please stay safe, Houston.”

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