1. Welcome to CowboysZone!  Join us!  Come on!  You know you want to!

News: DC: Kavner: Be Careful Messing With Good Thing In Free

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by NewsBot, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Picksix

    Picksix A Work in Progress

    4,728 Messages
    688 Likes Received
    Not disagreeing with you about Free and how the team had to adjust around him, but why then didn't Parnell get any playing time?
  2. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

    9,434 Messages
    912 Likes Received
    There's a chance that Dallas could get a top guard prospect in the second round, but would have to use its first-round pick to grab one of the top tackle prospects ... so I'm with you.

    Unless the top tackle available at 16 is just so much better than the best defensive lineman available, Dallas shouldn't plan to make any move with Free. (The Cowboys are in greater immediate need of a guard anyway.)
  3. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    Good question. In 2012, it was a political issue. Callahan wanted to bench Free and make Parnell the starter, but "management" said no. The eventual compromise was to have them split series in the final 4 games.

    In the 2013 preseason, Parnell was injured and missed all but 1 preseason game. He was still visibly limping in that game. By the time he was healthy, the OL with the tweaks to the scheme to help Free was well. Free wasn't bad enough for "management" to agree to bench the guy that they awarded with a big contract a few years ago. Whoever was in favor of signing Free to the original big contract has an incentive for Free stay as the starter in order to justify their original support of the contract. There were some comments on local talk radio that the OL coaches still preferred Parnell to Free during the 2013 season but obviously they aren't going to comment publicly about the issue.

    There was also whispers that the Cowboys basically promised Free that he would be the starter if he accepted the pay cut.

    The Jets had a similar situation in about 2012 when the GM forced the OL coach to rotate the GM's draft pick with the player preferred by the OL coach. The OL coach did comment publicly saying that it made him sick that the best player was not the full time starter.
    casmith07 and BigStar like this.
  4. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

    4,099 Messages
    1,624 Likes Received
    You post great stuff dude ;) It was great insight into a player I thought was "rebounding" when the team was really hiding his deficiencies better. It worked either way (for 2013) but definitely think the team should have T high on their list of draft needs considering this info and the fact that he is a FA in 2015. I thought Parnell would've supplanted him last season but didn't seem like there was ever much competition.
  5. theSHOW

    theSHOW Benched

    3,490 Messages
    1,146 Likes Received
    I agree that we need a guard (or two) more than right tackle. That said if Lewan is there he will probably be the BPA and Jerry will make the call to the Commish for the tackle. That is, unless he swindles another team by trading out of the draft position.
    BigStar likes this.
  6. theSHOW

    theSHOW Benched

    3,490 Messages
    1,146 Likes Received
    That's a lot of whispering. My ears were too far away to hear any of that. I'm more in the camp that thinks Free earned it and is an NFL starting RT but not premiere by any means.
    casmith07 likes this.
  7. Hardline

    Hardline Well-Known Member

    844 Messages
    348 Likes Received
    I dream of the day when the Cowboys have 5 starting OL drafted in the first and second round.
  8. theSHOW

    theSHOW Benched

    3,490 Messages
    1,146 Likes Received
    I dream about the girl that sponges the soap on my car windows at the bikini car wash I go to everyday.
  9. bsheeern

    bsheeern Well-Known Member

    1,760 Messages
    52 Likes Received
    Did you notice Free was dropping his head often (2011-2012) when he was pass blocking? It seemed he tried to create a "punch" to slow down a rusher much like Big E used to do especially to the likes of Reggie White. Unlike Erik, whose athleticism allowed him to often recover when attempting this even if it failed, Free often couldn't and it became a HUGE red flag to me when seeing it on film. It appeared as though defenders even noticed it in film study because it looked to me as if they often stalled ever so slightly initially off the blocks to create even more space as Free Backpedalled off the line. Then once Free was upright in his stance, they would bullrush straight at him to initiate contact. But just as they were both about to engage, Free would drop his head, lunge at the defender only to receive a basic swim move or just get blown by.
  10. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

    41,803 Messages
    1,671 Likes Received
    Free seems to be a guy that has to work to a pattern and if someone messes with it he cannot adapt. Which is probably why he always has problems with stunts; they come to fast for him to adjust mentally.
  11. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    Free's biggest issue is that he has terrible upper body strength. He can't press out effectively with his arms and he can't control defenders with his hands. Defenders learned that they could get their arms under his and thrust upwards and that he has no ability to resist that move. Free has tried various changes to compensate like keeping his hands lower, etc.. I don't know the source of the problem but if you're every had a shoulder injury, his issues are very similar to having weak shoulders. He is best if he can keep his hands/arm in tight but that's difficult to do for an OT. He has reasonably good foot quickness and size which is the only reason that he manages to get by. He has to be quick enough to keep his body directly in front of the defender because if he has to "reach" then he's in trouble. In the running game he can't power block, but with his size he can lean on defenders with his body and stay between them and the runner.

    They tweaked the scheme in 2013 to compensate for his issues. They had the RG keep a closer spacing than normal to Free. This prevented the outside rusher from beating him to the inside which allowed Free to over-set to the outside. By over-setting, it was easier to keep his body in front of the rusher without have to reach with his arms. In order to compensate for the RG compensating for Free, they had Fred favor blocking right. This resulted in Leary getting minimal help despite being a 1st time starter with Zero experience prior to the start of the season. If Leary had not been really good, they probably couldn't have implemented this tweak. Leary did struggle though it early in the season, but by the end of the season he was playing really well.

    In the running game they schemed to allow Free to do what he does best which is just keep himself between the runner and the defender without having to try to move the defender. They did different things to get his man to jump to the outside before they would run to the inside. That caused Free's man to basically take himself out of the play without Free having to get any movement on him. At other times they had Bern pop Free's man very quickly initially to force him to Free's outside and then Bern would quickly pop back to the inside to get his man blocked. Bern got really good at this move and I call it the pinball play because Bern looks like a pinball.

    Sorry, but I can't even think about Erik Williams and Doug Free in the same thought. Big E was my all time favorite Cowboys player and Doug Free just annoys the crap out of me.
    casmith07 and BigStar like this.
  12. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

    4,099 Messages
    1,624 Likes Received
    Great post! I love this type of insight and understanding of the OL. "Pinball play" is a good way to describe that dynamic. It was one of those things I noticed, but didn't realize what I was seeing until you detailed it in this post. Is this lack of upper strength something he could've improved on earlier in his career or is to due his body structure/surgeries, etc.?
  13. Picksix

    Picksix A Work in Progress

    4,728 Messages
    688 Likes Received
    That all makes sesne. I know Jerry doesn't want his "money sitting on the bench." As for an under the table agreement with Free for this past season, I could see that happening. Politics plays a big role.
  14. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    Thanks.

    I will give Free some credit. He did make some small improvements with his technique. It's just that the major improvement came from the scheme tweak.

    It sucks that that management won't allow Callahan/Pollack to play Parnell. He is a drastically better run blocker than Free. People laughed when Jerry said that Parnell tested out as having the best punch of anybody that Woicik had ever measured, but if you study him, it's obvious that it is very good.

    I was thinking about why would Jerry even know about the punch test of a backup OLineman. My thought is that Callahan or someone brought it to Jerry's attention when they were campaigning to make Parnell the starter over Free.

    I'm hopeful that Parnell is healthy in the preseason and puts on a show to the extent that they can't keep starting Free. Even in the one preseason game that Parnell did play last season, the one against the Bengals where he was visibly limping between plays, he dominated their rookie early draft pick DE and even blew up All Pro Geno Atkins on one play. When I say dominated, I mean he drove the rookie all the way to the sidelines on at least one play and drove him off the TV screen on several others. Free has never done that to anyone on any play since he's been with the Cowboys.

    At worst case, Parnell is a legit backup which should allow them to only draft an OT if it is a bargain or it's an OT that can play OG.
    BigStar likes this.
  15. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

    4,099 Messages
    1,624 Likes Received
    Agree about Parnell's physical/athletic freakness. He looks like Big E out there. I would like to believe that coaching/gm politics aren't in play, but we all know they are on this team (unfortunately). Not even just a little bit.
  16. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    Unfortunately, the other issue is that it appears that when Free signed the contract in 2013 to accept a pay cut, that it had a provision that his 2014 salary would be guaranteed if he was on the roster after the start of Free agency. His agent didn't want them to be able to hold on to him past the prime time for free agents and then try to get another pay cut which is what they did in 2013.

    If Free's salary is guaranteed, then "management" will still prefer to have him starting.
    BigStar likes this.
  17. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

    4,099 Messages
    1,624 Likes Received
    We all know that game as fans :rolleyes: but that really irritates me. Don't want to make this a JJ thread, but dang. You luck out into a talent @ T but would instead defy Callahan and improvise the scheme to hide the deficiencies of an overpaid talent that took a pay cut to avoid release.
  18. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    It will be an interesting situation to watch in training camp. The fact that the other 4 OL starters are returning to their 2013 positions make might make it more palatable to give a less experienced player a chance.

    In 2013 I think "management" not only considered Free's salary, but also probably didn't want to have too many inexperienced players on the OLine. Fred was a rookie and Leary didn't have any more NFL experience than a rookie. They also where not convinced that Bern was going to be good; otherwise, they probably wouldn't have signed Waters.
  19. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

    4,099 Messages
    1,624 Likes Received
    I think this type of thinking holds this team back. SF's OL was filled with young talent. This team relies on average veterans so coaches can keep their jobs, it is transparent @ this point and shows a lack of vision on behalf of the organization.
  20. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

    13,628 Messages
    5,784 Likes Received
    It seem that they've had a philosophical shift this off-season. Hopefully it continues and they play the best players and focus on youth.

Share This Page