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Doug Free Film Review: “Done Or Finished?”

The have the best in football.

How many times have we heard that phrase over the past two years? A lot, I know. While it seems repetitive to point it out at times, it is important to do so for the simple fact that it is true.

Three All-Pros, three picks, and five guys who have a serious shot at making the each and every year. The oldest member of this group, however, might be becoming a problem.

The forgotten man of this offensive line, veteran right , is often criticized by fans who are sometimes very wrong in their criticism. These past two weeks, those criticisms have been as loud as ever, but they very well may finally be correct.

Free struggled mightily against the , getting beat by on multiple occasions. I expected an improvement at Washington, and while he did play better, it was nowhere near where we would hope for him to be.

Run Blocking

https://gyazo.com/2117cd7731cb4afef04ee695f0f578c0

In the run game, Free struggled to keep his feet on a multitude of plays. This lack of balance came back to haunt both him and the Cowboys, as often the player he whiffed on went on to either make or impact the play.

Here we see Doug Free try to execute a “pin and pull” technique with the . gets pushed into the backfield, but he does seal his man just enough to avoid total failure. Free tries to pull for the to seal the outside, but fails to do so as he loses his feet and ends up on the ground.

The cardinal sin of o-line play is to lose your feet. You have to do your best to stay up at all times, and avoid whiffing like this.

https://gyazo.com/023191a6cae7ee01c0e9134c4433a3bb

Problems on the backside double between and hurt the play, but it is Doug Free's miss which may have ultimately doomed it. Free takes a decent zone step off the ball, keeping his shoulders square and staying relatively low. He lets his upper body get too far over his knees, however, making it very easy for the to use his momentum against him, and make the play.

As an offensive linemen, you cannot allow yourself to lean like this, or else you will end up on your face.

Pass Blocking

https://gyazo.com/50ef7b822152a37a77bdfb27c0962e3f

Doug Free got beat a few times in pass protection this week, losing with similar problems just about every time. First, he allows the to get into his chest and control him. Free is not able to deliver a punch and create any separation from the defensive end off the ball. This allows the defensive end to bull rush Free into the , before shedding Free and coming up with the sack.

https://gyazo.com/056b40a0b962863f18d097cf43bd1352

Washington tries a twist with their 3-technique and defensive end here, and they are successful in creating pressure with it. does a nice job of passing the off to Free, powering down and controlling the stunting end.

Free, however, loses his base and allows himself to get bull rushed once again. avoids the sack here, but the fact that Free was beat remains the same regardless of the final outcome.

Positives

I've been pretty negative on Free throughout most of this article, but the fact of the matter is that Free did improve his play from week 1 to week 2.

https://gyazo.com/5b811a9f5c72dd4747c2dde5360dc23d

Unlike the last play where the twist beat Free, he and Martin do an excellent job of passing off the down lineman, switching, and making the block. Free's footwork is excellent here, as is his punch as he stays strong with his inside arm and doesn't allow the defender to get into his chest and bull rush him.

https://gyazo.com/7822475b6a2c7ff6bd7d6b87d2a1f8df

This was my favorite Doug Free play from the entire game. He kicks back with ease, keeping himself square while still moving quick enough to meet the wide-aligned defender before it was too late.

Dak's run came back due to a hold on , but Free did an excellent job in pass protection on this play.

While it wasn't pretty at times, Doug Free's play did improve from week to week. This Sunday night, the Cowboys face the , a team with by far the worst of the three they have seen so far. Free needs to have his best game yet, or else the criticisms will only get louder.

Kevin Brady
Kevin Bradyhttps://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com
Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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Joe Riojas

I wonder if they’d consider moving Collins or Ron Leary if he continues to struggle?

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