Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by mmillman, Dec 3, 2012.
I wish I had the answer.
I bet since he got paid he has put on 12-15 lbs of weight...and not all of it good. He's definitely not light on his feet any longer
Good post, nick. I agree.
I know he isn't that old but for some people they start to decline physically faster than others. Maybe he's one of them?
Tape...every player in the league has to overcome their own tape. Free hasn't.
It all started last season against the 9ers, Justin Smith, the ultimate technician, took Free to school all day. He repeatedly beat him with his hands, Free just couldn't keep up with the handplay. Soon after every player he matched up against were using less speed or power rushes, and more hand fighting. They would literally run to him, let him put his hand on them, then chop them away and go pressure Romo. His hand speed, and hand strength are not good enough. So the tape on Free became "beat him with your hands, you don't even have to try to fool him or set him up, he can't keep a grip on anyone". Of course Free and the coaching staff went on a journey to improve Doug's hand speed, strength and placement. They've tried a variety of techniques, it's obvious from watching tape that they've had him trying many different things over the past 2 seasons. The problem now is, he's too messed up in the head. He's so worried about all the little details of what technique he's supposed to be using this week, he's reacting instead of dictating.
For the record, I thought the halftime adjustment they made for him this week was very good and he played quite well in the second half. They basically told him to attack more, don't set quite as deep or quite as quickly and let that guy run at you while your mind is going a million miles an hour trying to react to all the possibilities. Set quicker and block with more of an attack mentality. It seemed to work, taking away those precious few fractions of a second and forcing the action quicker helped. It remains to be seen if they continue to use this technique against teams not employing the wide 9 tech.
Also for the record, people are so mad at the pressures and holding calls, they fail to notice his run blocking. He's pretty good at it, not the best in the league or anything, but he's pretty solid, and with his quick feet, they can use him on some harder blocks that pretty much any other RT in the league can't do.
Good stuff. We just need him to be solid, not great, in pass protection. He has been terrible at that. I always thought it would be the opposite with him - weak run blocking and good pass protection since he supposedly was athletic with good feet but not strong. I never expected him to fall this far. He is at the point in his career where his technique should be helping him to overcome his weaknesses. Unfortunately, he is a weak player without confidence. Hopefully Callahan can perform a miracle and help him to play more like he did in the 2nd half Sunday night. This was not supposed to be a hole that needed filling this offseason.
Move Free to guard, and put Parnell at RT!
Was about to comment on some of this. He seemed to also gain some of his confidence back in the second half Sunday.
I haven't watched a lot of his tape but I noticed him putting his head down when getting his initial punch engaged Ala Erik Williams. While Erik perfected it in his prime it can become a bad habit.
Have you noticed him doing this before? I noticed him doing it Sunday night.
I thought his problem was hand/arm/shoulder strength; however, I didn't know why it was not a problem in 2010.
It sounds like you're saying that he never had good upper body strength but defenders didn't take advantage of it until seeing him exposed on tape.
It will be interesting to see if he can keep the improvement up. But he was not exactly going up against the best this last game so the question is still open.
What we apparently have here is a very flawed player. Who has to play technically nearly perfect to be good. That is something that is VERY hard to maintain.
Great observation! You're absolutely right about some of us overlooking his run blocking. I'll admit that I'm blinded by his very poor pass blocking and still would like to move on from him. Given his current contract, would you bring him back at that rate or cut your loss? Assuming of course, that he won't renegotiate.
He played even better in 2009 at RT, when we went 11-5 and one a playoff game.
Very interesting, CS.
I really enjoy reading your analysis.
Do you think it makes sense to try Free at OG? or can his technique/mental issues, etc. be cleaned up at RT in your opinion?
He might need glasses.
He seems to get beat and abused by the most basic attacks.
Well his run blocking is the only reason why I haven't driven to Dallas to Tonya Harding him. He is solid there, too bad about the pass blocking issues. I will say, in another thread someone mentioned a direct quote from Free and he said something about Callahan's methods have taken away his aggressiveness so thats in line with what you said (don't remember the exact quote).
The OL can be so maddening, but it is encouraging if he can continue to play like he did in the 2nd half. Its very unfortunate it took them this long to finally start playing a lil better, and while I'm still not in love with Free at all, I do get the feeling we are stuck with him cause replacing him requires a huge amount of resources.
Based on your current evaluations, who would you look to replace first, and in which order would you list them as they are playing currently. Thanks in advance.
You think he could deal with the strength of defensive tackles? No chance.
Doug Free has way too many negative plays in the passing game to even come close to making up for it in the run game. He's a backup player at best.
he plays too high, that much I can see. It is why he often gets driven back into Romo's lap. That doesn't account for his whiffing and leading the league in penalties too.
how can technique still be an issue when he's had two of the best oline coaches around?
there were times on sunday where it looked like he was scared of contact. he gets spun around so easily it's embarrassing to watch him play.
Well obviously I'm not a Free fan, but I'm also not blind to the positive aspects of his game (no matter how few they might be at the moment). He seems to be better at being aggressive, and that translates in the run game more than the passing game obviously.
Still would love to see him replaced more than any Olinemen, but if we are stuck with him (and yeah we might be with the price of not only getting rid of him but the high cost of replacement at that position), then we have to try to figure out if he can improve or not.