Tag:Doug Free
Posted on: July 27, 2010 3:28 pm

Alex Barron off to a good start in Big D

There has been a little buzz around Cowboys training camp about the impressive start that offensive tackle Alex Barron is off to. Generally, when speaking about Barron, the word “start” is usually preceded with the word “false”. Part of the reason St. Louis traded the five-year starter (but disappointing former first-round pick) to Dallas was they couldn’t stand Barron’s avalanche of penalties.

The Cowboys, though, have become callous to false starts by their long run with Flozell Adams. Adams’s release created a need for more depth at offensive tackle.

Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News writes, “Barron has shown more strength than some thought while also displaying some excellent athletic ability. He has long arms, which is a must as a left tackle, and he moves well.”

Archer doesn’t mention the choppy footwork that has made Barron inconsistent. Barron is more natural as a left tackle, though he spent the first few years of his career on the right side. His versatility is convenient because, despite the early positive reviews, Barron is not expected to beat out super athletic Doug Free at left tackle. (Free gives the Cowboys excellent mobility in the ground game.)

Free showed enough minor flaws to inspire Dallas to trade for Barron in the first place, so don’t close the door on a competition. But in all likelihood, the Cowboys will use Barron as a swing tackle in2010.

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 24, 2010 10:13 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 10:31 pm

Doug Free has a rough start to training camp

Doug Free's strong play at right tackle convinced the Cowboys that they could live without Flozell Adams on the left side of the line. So, there's a fair amount of pressure on Free heading into 2010.

After all, he's the guy who's in charge of making sure that Tony Romo stays in one piece. Which is what makes this report from ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon a little disturbing:
Twice during team drills, backup outside linebackers blew by Free for what would have been clean shots at Romo's back. Free didn't get a finger on Brandon Williams or Steve Octavien as they turned the corner on simple speed rushes. Two padless practice plays a season does not make, of course. And it's entirely possible that Free was just nervous. Or something.

That being said, Alex Barron is in town following the team's swap with the Rams for linebacker Bobby Carpenter, and that gives Dallas another option if it turns out that Free isn't ready for the left tackle role.

For now, it's not worth speculating that Free's job is in too much trouble. But a few more practices like Saturday's, and we might have to rethink exactly which position battles in the NFC East we're watching .

-- Will Brinson

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com