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FRISCO, Texas — As the talk of protesting President Donald Trump’s comments that players should be fired if they don’t stand for the national anthem took on a bigger profile last week, Dallas Cowboys safety Byron Jones talked with his older brothers.

Aaron is a deep-sea diver in the Navy; Winston is a Marine.

“They gave me their blessing and said, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’” Jones said. “[They said] we don’t do it for the flag. We don’t do it for the anthem.’ They said, ‘We do it for your freedom, and your freedom to protest is one of them.’”

Jones was unsure if he was going to take a knee during the national anthem.

“I was back and forth the entire time,” Jones said.

Before kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones presented the idea to the team in which Jones, front-office staff, coaches and players would stand arm in arm and then drop to a knee before the anthem played. During the anthem, all of the Cowboys stood with their arms locked.

“Jerry came in, in the last minute and just kind of said, ‘Let’s show unity. Let’s show a united front,’” Jones said. “And everyone thought it was a good idea, so we went out and did that.”

Players are not sure if there will be a similar demonstration before kickoff Sunday when the Cowboys host the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium. Jason Witten said there has been some discussions among the leaders of the team this week and would continue over the next few days.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said he was OK with the Cowboys’ demonstration.

“It’s just what we decided,” he said, “and just move on.”

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The NFL is asking a federal appeals court to dismiss Ezekiel Elliott’s entire lawsuit in its bid to lift an injunction that blocked the star Dallas Cowboys running back’s six-game suspension over a domestic violence case in Ohio.

The league wrote in a filing Wednesday to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that the players’ union case filed on behalf of Elliott had resulted in “hopelessly doomed proceedings.”

The court requested arguments from both sides over U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant’s jurisdiction.

The Texas judge granted Elliott’s request for an injunction while the case plays out in federal court. The NFL asked the appeals court for an emergency stay of Mazzant’s ruling, and oral arguments are set for Monday.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations last summer with his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors in Ohio didn’t pursue the case, citing conflicting evidence.

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When the talk about dominant line play is discussed regarding the Dallas Cowboys, it’s assumed widely that it is about their offensive line with All-Pros Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.

In Monday’s 28-17 win against the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys’ defensive line was the story.

The Cowboys recorded six sacks of Carson Palmer, all by defensive linemen. It was the first time since Sept. 22, 2013, against the St. Louis Rams that the Cowboys had six sacks in a game.

The Cowboys have 11 sacks in three games. They did not reach 11 sacks last season until their sixth game.

DeMarcus Lawrence had the first three-sack game of his career and leads the NFL with 6.5 for the season. He had one sack last season and his career high is eight in 2015. He became the first Cowboy since DeMarcus Ware to have three straight multi-sack games. Ware accomplished his feat over the 2011 and ’12 seasons.

Lawrence is just the third player to open the season with three straight games with more than a sack, joining Mark Gastineau (1984) and Kevin Greene (1998).

“He’s got such a great spirit about him,” Jason Garrett said. “He’s defending the run. He’s affecting the quarterback. He’s making plays that change the game. Just watch him, he’s like a kid out there. He’s running around and he’s got a big smile on his face. That spirit is contagious to the rest of the defense and the rest of the team.”

Maliek Collins added two sacks. He and Lawrence are the first Cowboys defenders with multiple sacks in the same game since Tyrone Crawford and Jeremy Mincey had two apiece against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 14, 2014.

Crawford had the Cowboys’ sixth sack.

“We don’t want to be the byproduct of nothing,” Collins said. “We want to be the show.”

The Cowboys used their three-man front more against the Cardinals than they had in the first two games. Collins and Crawford were able to record sacks with just the three-man pressure.

The Cowboys don’t have big names on their line although Lawrence might be growing into one. Collins had a productive rookie season (five sacks). Crawford is healthier than he has been in two seasons. Benson Mayowa, who led the Cowboys with six sacks a year ago, had a quarterback pressure Monday. So did Taco Charlton.

The pass rush was made better because the Cowboys stopped the run a week after allowing a 100-yard rusher for the first time since the 2015 season finale. Arizona ran 21 times for 49 yards. Chris Johnson carried 12 times for 17 yards. The Cowboys did not allow a run longer than 6 yards.

“Very dominant,” Lawrence said when asked how dominant the Cowboys’ defensive line can be. “We have to focus on us and not our opponents and get better every week.”

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The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals displayed unity Monday night before their game in an expression of displeasure with the recent comments made by President Donald Trump.

As the Cardinals were introduced, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, as well as executive vice presidents Stephen Jones, Charlotte Anderson and Jerry Jones Jr., stood locked arm in arm with the players, coaches and staff.

Before a giant American flag was unfurled that covered almost the entire field, the Cowboys took a knee briefly as a group, including Jerry Jones, which led to a smattering of boos from the crowd that included a large number of Dallas fans.

During the national anthem, the Cowboys stood locked arm in arm but nobody took a knee or appeared to have any sign of silent protest.

The Cardinals lined up along the goal line of the southern end zone as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem behind them. Some players linked arms. Some put their hands on the shoulders of teammates. Defensive tackle Frostee Rucker and tight end Ifeanyi Momah kept their helmets on. Among the players, coach and staff who lined up were team president Michael Bidwill, who locked arms with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Patrick Peterson. Fitzgerald locked arms with coach Bruce Arians on the other side. Bidwill’s sister, Nicole, and brother, Tim, as well as general manager Steve Keim were also standing with the players.

On Sunday, every team playing had some form of demonstration as a response to President Trump saying owners should fire the players who disrespect the flag by not standing during the national anthem. Hundreds of players, coaches, executives and owners stood together arm in arm, sat, knelt, raised a fist or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem.

Leading up to Monday’s game, there was much internal debate among the Cowboys and Cardinals and even between the two teams.

Peterson told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that when he woke up on Saturday morning and heard about President Trump’s comments, he and another teammate went to Arians and asked if players could do something in response before Monday night’s game.

That started a series of conversations with the Cowboys — including Fitzgerald reaching out to Dallas tight end Jason Witten — to discuss a possible joint show of unity.

Those conversations continued throughout the day Monday, but ultimately the decision was made that there would be no joint team response.

Jerry Jones and his daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson, said their players wanted to take a knee as a statement for equality and unity, but also wanted to separate that message from the national anthem.

As Arians entered University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday, he wore a handwritten note of support around his neck that read “Love!! Not Hate!!”

A little less than an hour before kickoff, Jerry Jones said he respected the players “individually and collectively,” but he did not want to get into the political element of the debate.

In the past, he has said he liked how the Cowboys had handled the national anthem. Before Monday, since the silent protests started a year ago with Colin Kaepernick drawing the most attention, the entire Cowboys’ roster stood in a row along the sideline.

It’s not clear whether Jones met with the players before kickoff. As of an hour before kickoff he said he hadn’t but he also indicated it could still happen.

Jones was one of seven NFL owners to donate to Trump’s inauguration. So far the Cowboys have not released a statement on Jones’ behalf, however, the NFL, the NFL Players Association and a number of teams and executives across the league issued statements calling Trump’s comments, “divisive.”

“We want them to do what’s in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones said. “That’s where the obligation is and again I don’t want to get into this area of debate but I do want to emphasize how important it is to me that we respect the sanctity of the flag.”

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TEMPE, Ariz. — When the Arizona Cardinals watched the tape of the Denver Broncos’ win over the Dallas Cowboys from last Sunday, they saw a blueprint of how to slow running back Ezekiel Elliott nearly to a grinding halt.

They also saw how the second-year star reacts when that happens.

But the Cardinals are preparing for an Elliott they believe will be playing with a chip on his shoulder in front of a national TV audience Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“He’ll be ready to roll,” safety Tyrann Mathieus aid. “We just got to bring our big-boy pads. Everybody has to tackle.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said two main reasons the Broncos had success against the Cowboys stood out in the film study: Denver got and held on to the lead, forcing the Cowboys to pass and essentially rendering Elliott useless; and Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

“If I could have Von Miller, I’d be happy,” Arians said. “He’s special. We’ve got a pretty good one, too, [in outside linebacker Chandler Jones], so, yeah. It’s a copycat league, but you can’t change what you do.

“They have some unique stuff that they run that you have to be very aware for. Hopefully, our matchups are pretty solid.”

For a little while during the past week it wasn’t certain if Elliott would play Monday night. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Friday to not hear arguments on the stay that’s keeping Elliott on the field for at least the next two weeks until Oct. 2. Even if the courts hadn’t made that announcement Friday, Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher wasn’t planning on paying much attention to the legal proceedings.

All week, as the status of Elliott for Monday night’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium faced some uncertainty, the Cardinals’ message was the same: It didn’t matter if Elliott played or not because the Cowboys wouldn’t change how they run the ball if Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris or Rod Smith was starting instead of Elliott.

Whether that was just coachspeak is up for debate, but it didn’t matter as of Friday afternoon.

Elliott will be on the field.

That means the Cardinals will be preparing for last year’s rushing champ, who, despite showing a lack of effort during last week’s loss to the Broncos, is still one of the best running backs in the NFL.

“He’s tough to stop anyways, but if and what he’s motivated by, I have no idea,” Arians said. “But he’s a handful.”

When the potential chip on his shoulder is taken out of the equation, the Cardinals see Elliott for what he is: A quick, powerful runner.

“I think he is a pads-down runner,” Bettcher said. “Whatever’s been said about the performance last week I watched on tape, I see a guy that carries the ball 20 times a game and averaged over 100 yards rushing a game [last season] and has a lot of talent who can burst on the second level, who can make guys on the second level miss.

“You got to wrap, you got to run and we got to rally when we tackle the guy.”

Elliott has rushed for 112 yards on 33 carries this year but has been held without a touchdown.

He set career lows in 10 different rushing categories last weekend, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

When defensive tackle Frostee Rucker watched Elliott on tape, he saw similarities to one of his teammates, running back Kerwynn Williams.

“They’re hard runners, but they’re small and you can’t really see them,” Rucker said. “When you got a big O-line like [Elliott] does, he’s really explosive, and he has all the traits to be a great back for many years to come.

“I don’t have anything bad to say about the kid. I don’t really know him. I know from what you see on film, he has a lot of speed, he does turn the corner and hit the edge on you, he does run it between the tackles, which a lot of guys try to bounce it out, but he’s trying to keep it in there, and it fits what they do well.”

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With just nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown on 25 targets in the first two games, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant knows his numbers need to improve, but he is not about to panic.

Much has been made about the Dak Prescott-to-Bryant connection early in the season, especially after things appeared to go smoothly in training camp and in the latter half of last season. In 15 games together, Bryant and Prescott have connected for 59 catches on 121 targets for 898 yards and nine touchdowns.

“Of course that’s not acceptable, but this is the National Football League,” Bryant said. “Things are going to go right and then when they do, it’s going to be the exact opposite … Everything is going to be great. You got to treat the lows like the highs and highs like the lows. That’s what it’s about. This is minor. That is minor to us. If we focus on that, pay attention to that, we are just feeding into what everybody is talking about. We can’t do none of that. We understand how this game goes. These are great football players and great teams we are going up against. It’s not just me and him. It’s everything. It’s 11 guys versus 11 guys. That’s the last thing on our mind because we know when it hits, it hits.”

In the opener, Bryant was matched up mostly against New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins. In Week 2, he saw Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. of the Denver Broncos. On Monday, he faces Patrick Peterson.

“He is a super athlete, that’s who he is,” Bryant said. “He is a helluva corner. He is arguably the best cornerback in the league. The guys is phenomenal. You got to be ready when you are going up against a guy like that. A real friend of mine. He knows how I am. I know how he is. It’s going to be pretty darn good matchup Monday.”

Bryant said he loves that he sees the best cornerbacks each week. He said his practice approach has been “phenomenal.”

“There is no pressure. It’s no pressure. It’s my job. It’s what I do,” Bryant said. “This is the National Football League. My confidence is sky-high. It’s going to always be that way. Monday night I got another shot at it. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get out there Monday.”

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Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been on the team’s injury report this week with a sore knee that he believes could have been the result of a low hit from Dallas Cowboys tight end Noah Brown on Sunday.

On the Cowboys’ second play of the game from scrimmage — a run off left guard for no gain by Ezekiel Elliott — Miller was on the back side of the play when Brown blocked him low. No flag was thrown on the play, but several Broncos players have privately said they believed the hit should have been penalized.

“My stance is, as a player, I’ve always tried to take care of my players on my football team and my opponents as well,” Miller said. “Quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, when it’s the other way around, it’s just baffling. You can’t really spend too much time on it, everybody’s situation in the National Football League is different, everybody doesn’t have the same outlook that I have … everybody doesn’t see it that way, everybody doesn’t play the game like I play the game. You’ve got to respect that.”

It isn’t the first time Miller has been subjected to a low hit on the back side of a play. But this time Miller had run through Brown’s initial block and then Brown dove at Miller’s knees as the play ended.

Miller was held out of some drills in Wednesday’s practice, but then practiced fully Thursday. Broncos coach Vance Joseph said he didn’t have a doubt Miller would play in Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Cornerback Bradley Roby (ankle), who was held out of Wednesday’s practice, was limited in Thursday’s practice. Joseph has said he expected Roby to play as well.

Tight end Jeff Heuerman (shoulder), safety Darian Stewart (groin) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) were all limited in Wednesday’s practice and all practiced fully Thursday.

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As Jerry Jones stood outside the locker room after his Dallas Cowboys were crushed by the Denver Broncos on Sunday, he wished they could play another game almost immediately.

“I’m glad we’re not going into a bye, to give you an idea,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t want to stew in this for that long, a couple of weeks. The quicker we get back out there, the better off we are.”

By playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, the Cowboys will have to wait an extra day before they take on the Arizona Cardinals to erase the taste of the 42-17 loss in Denver.

“We definitely won’t be discouraged,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said after the game. “Last year at this time we were 1-1. It’s a 16-game season and it’s only Game 2. We can get so much better. If you’re peaking right now, you’re going to have a problem. You really don’t want to be peaking right now. You want to be peaking at the end of the season. We just can’t come out and play like this.”

The players were off on Tuesday and have meetings and a walk-through Wednesday before getting into their normal routine on Thursday with their padded practice.

The extra day allows some of the Cowboys to heal. Quarterback Dak Prescott came out of the game with an ankle injury that will not keep him out of practice, but he is able to get more rehab time. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie was unable to finish the Denver game because of a hamstring strain.

The Cowboys haven’t suffered a blowout like Sunday’s since a 32-point loss at New Orleans in 2013. Their three losses last season were by a total of 18 points, and the 14-point defeat at Philadelphia came with the bulk of the starters playing sparingly since the Cowboys’ playoff seeding had been set.

“We’re extremely motivated,” receiver Dez Bryant said. “No guy around here is holding their head down because we know who we are. We’re a damn good football team. We practice [as] hard if not harder than any other team in this league. We’re going to bounce back and keep working.”

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FRISCO, Texas — With defensive end Damontre Moore returning from a two-game suspension this week, the Dallas Cowboys waived linebacker Jayrone Elliott, who was acquired in a trade from the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 3.

Moore has been able to work out at the Cowboys’ practice facility because he was suspended under the substance-abuse policy, but he has not been able to take part in meetings or practices. He had two sacks in the preseason. The Cowboys had a roster exemption through Wednesday for Moore, who could help the pass rush immediately, but opted to make the move today.

Elliott dressed for the season opener against the New York Giants but was inactive last week against the Denver Broncos.

Per the terms of the trade with Green Bay, the Cowboys will now keep their seventh-round pick in 2018 unless they re-sign Elliott in the future and he is on the 46-man roster for at least two more games.

With the trade presently wiped out, the Cowboys will have all but their fifth-round pick in next spring’s draft. They gave up that pick to the New York Jets to take safety Xavier Woods in the sixth round. The Cowboys could also gain a number of compensatory picks for their free-agent defections.

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will meet with Ezekiel Elliott to discuss the running back’s lack of effort in two plays during Sunday’s 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.

On Dak Prescott’s two interceptions, Elliott did not attempt to track down Broncos cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib. On the Harris interception, which came after Dez Bryant could not hold on to a Prescott pass, television replays showed Elliott standing with his hands on his hips as Harris turned up field.

On Talib’s 103-yard return for a touchdown with 53 seconds to play, Elliott dove at a Denver blitzer to protect Prescott, but he was not seen in the television replays in the chase.

“One of the things we preach to our team on both sides of the ball when there is a turnover is everybody’s involved,” Garrett said. “If you’re an offensive player, you become a defensive player on a fumble or an interception. Zeke is one of the most natural competitors that I’ve ever been around. He loves to play. He loves to practice. I think we’ve seen that through his first year playing, and those two plays are not indicative of the kind of competitor that he is, and we have to get [that] addressed.”

Elliott finished with a career-low 8 yards on nine carries as the Broncos bottled up the Cowboys’ running game and forced Dallas to rely on the passing game.

Garrett said frustration could have been a reason for Elliott’s lack of effort, but that was not an excuse.

“Obviously, he had been very productive as a running back over the course of his career and certainly in the NFL up to this point,” Garrett said, “and he had a game where he carried the ball nine times for 8 yards, so there’s no question frustration could have set in.”

On NFL Network after the game, Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson said Elliott “quit on his team,” but he pointed more to Elliott’s sideline demeanor than his effort on the interceptions.

“Clearly, he didn’t have any communication with his teammates,” Tomlinson said. “But also, he didn’t want to talk to his teammates. Sometimes when things are going wrong, as a leader of that team, as a captain, you have to step up and rally the troops. You have to go to the offensive line and say, ‘I know it’s tough, but let’s keep battling, let’s keep fighting.’ You have to go to the quarterback and say, ‘Hey, man, I’m not getting it done today. You have to step it up.’ You have to rally the troops. … They need him to do that because last year, he led the league in rushing. So everybody is looking at him as the top dog. So if you want to be the top dog, you have to do it on and off the field.”

When asked about Tomlinson’s accusation, Garrett said, “I just think it’s important to be specific about the plays. You evaluate the play. Those particular plays, it was not up to our standard.”

“I think different guys get ready to play in different ways,” Garrett said, “and in a game when things aren’t going well, sometimes guys look inward and focus on what they need to do to get themselves ready for their next opportunity.”