Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys is lifted up by Doug Free #68 after scoring in the second quarter as Chris Gronkowski #44 looks on against the Houston Texans on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.
After left guard Kyle Kosier and right tackle Marc "Heavy Metal" Colombo were injured in the preseason and predicted to miss the first few games of the regular season, Cowboys fans everywhere started freaking out.
Jerry had cut ties with the team's left tackle of the past decade, Flozell Adams, and turned the reins over to an inexperienced, young Doug Free.
For those who don't know, the left tackle is widely regarded as the most important person on the offensive line (assuming you have a right-handed quarterback) because he's the QB's blind side protector.
So, after Kosier and Colombo were injured, it left the Cowboys' O-line pretty thin and left them with the league's most penalized player over the last five years, Alex Barron at right tackle in Colombo's place. We all know what happened in that season opener in Washington.
After that, I and many others called for Jerry's head for letting Adams go, when he still could've been at left tackle and Free could've been playing at right tackle, and grooming himself for an eventual move to the more pressure-packed left tackle position.
Turns out, Free didn't need that grooming.
The fourth-year player out of Northern Illinois has not only been a solid player at left tackle this year, but he hasn't given up a sack all season. Of course, in the Washington game, the Redskins' best pass rusher Brian Orakpo was eating up Barron the entire game, but against the Bears, Free was up against Julius Peppers the whole game, and one of the best pass rushers of the past decade never touched Tony Romo. Then in Sunday's domination of the Houston Texans, Free was matched up with the Texans prized pass rusher, Mario Williams and Free held the former No. 1 overall pick sackless.
True, the Cowboys will still face better defenses down the line, but the ones the team has faced so far have had at least one premier pass rusher, and Romo has barely hit the floor.
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