The Blind Side



Flozell Adams had played for the Dallas Cowboys for a long time. 12 years. That run came to an end in 2010 when Flozell the Hotel was released by the Cowboys a couple weeks before the Draft. By releasing him (and safety Ken Hamlin), it seemed as if a.) they were very confident in Doug Free as a blind side protector for Tony Romo, or b.) they were going to take a franchise left tackle in the first round.

Draft day rolled around, and after taking Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, the Cowboys finally drafted a tackle in Sam Young from the University of Notre Dame.

Sam Young is a sixth-round pick who’s ceiling seems to be as an adequate right tackle, at best. So he is not a franchise left tackle, obviously.

So this proves point A. The Cowboys are confident in Doug Free to be the left tackle for years to come in Dallas. I for one, am not confident in Doug Free.

Yes, he did an adequately good job filling in at right tackle last year when Marc Colombo got hurt. But, as most of us know, right and left tackle are complete different beasts. Left tackle requires you to be quick, strong and nimble. Sandra Bullock said it the best, “This is your quarterback, Michael. Your job is to protect his blind side.” Left tackle is the “glamor” spot on the offensive line, the spot that gets picked high in the draft and gets paid big bucks. Left tackle is also much more recognizable. Name a right tackle, quick, go. Did you think of one? Now name a left tackle. Now when you think of a left tackle, names start popping up. Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace, Walter Jones, Flozell Adams, the like. The left tackle of the offensive line also has to deal with most team’s premier pass rusher.

Right tackle, on the other hand, usually gets the second-rate pass rushers, and the second round picks.

Doug Free is a right tackle by nature. He might not have the feet or speed to move quick enough to stay with some of the best pass rushers in the game. If memory serves me right, the Vikings lined “He Went To” Jared Allen on Free and what happened that game? Allen ended up living in the Cowboys backfield and it seemed as if Tony and the rest of the offense could never pass midfield, let alone complete a play for a gain.

The Cowboys do have other options at left tackle if Free fails. Robert Brewster, a rookie last year who spent all of his time on the PUP list, is healthy and could see action this year. The Cowboys also traded away former first-round pick Bobby Carpenter to the Rams for tackle Alex Barron. Barron has 74 starts under his belt and could really challenge Free for the left tackle spot. I actually see Barron winning the job by week 4 at the latest, as he is a better all-around blocker than Free, and as a former first round pick, has more talent than Free.

All in all, left tackle is a spot to watch this season.