It was a gamble, to be sure, but the kind of gamble that fits with the old maxim that it is better to get rid of a player a year too early instead of a year too late. Adams wasn't awful in 2009 and played well enough to keep his job on teams that don't have younger tackles who performed just as well nipping at their heels. The Cowboys have one of those players in Doug Free and they took the chance to install him and move forward instead of risking a decline from Adams.
That's definitely a risk. The Cowboys could be wrong in their belief that Free is a better tackle than Adams and that could contribute to their failing to live up to expectations this season. Good teams, good businesses and good people take risks like that all the time because it is the best way to get better, even if the downside might cause them some kind of pain.
Still, some people think that was a rash decision. Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegramdoes a good job of summing up that camp with a column about how releasing Adams has cost the Cowboys all of their depth on the offensive line. His argument has the benefit of coming at a moment where Marc Colombo and top backup Alex Barron are both dinged up, yet it still doesn't hold up to any rigorous analysis.
Adams can play left tackle and only left tackle, something that was driven home in his disastrous first appearance with the Steelers last week. That makes him a pretty poor choice to provide depth when you have a limited number of spots to use for reserves at any position. You need guys who can swing from one side to the other and guys who can play both guard and tackle, you don't need hulking, prideful veterans who aren't going to adapt to playing only in the case of emergency.
What's more, teams that are looking to hand the reins over to younger players are rarely helped by keeping their predecessor around to create controversy at the first sign of struggle. You could probably Mad Lib yourself a newspaper story for the Monday morning after the Cowboys lose 19-17 in a game that sees Free get beaten for a key fourth quarter sack. Those of us who write about the Cowboys love such drama but it rarely helps the team.
That more than explains why the Cowboys didn't keep Adams around after deciding that Free was the man to protect Tony Romo's blind side. Any other argument seems designed only to put yourself in a position to second-guess the Cowboys if Free falls apart this season.
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