Left tackle Doug Free says his performance has been “pretty average” so far, but that he and the rest of the offensive line are going to get better with time.
“I definitely haven’t played my best ball, by any means, over the past couple of weeks,” he said. “Definitely things to work on. It’s early in the season yet.”
The Cowboys are averaging 3.2 yards per run and 78.0 yards rushing per game. They’ve given up six sacks. Free seems to have been struggling since signing a $32 million, four-year contract at the start of training camp. He has been called for holding three times – after only once last season – and although he hasn’t given up a sack, one was negated by penalty Monday night.
“I’m just a little rusty. I don’t know,” Free said. “I could be a 10-year vet, and I’d still say I’m not playing as good as I need to.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Free is being competitive.
“He, like everybody else on our team, has a long way to go,” Garrett said. “I think he’s done some good things in the run game and as a pass protector. He’s played against some good guys. That’s the nature of that position. You play against a marquee rusher every week and they are coming after you. I think he stood toe to toe with some guys. They’ve won some, he’s won some. He’s a guy who approaches it the right way and will learn from things that haven’t gone well and get better.”
Free said he was glad to help finally kick the running game into gear Monday night. Felix Jones ran for 115 yards against the Washington Redskins.
“It’s always great to run the ball, get the defense kind of backed up a little bit, get them off you a little bit in the passing game,” he said. “It’s definitely great to run the ball, tempo-wise, be two-dimensional, not just one-dimensional. There’s definitely more things to work on on that. I think we should improve each and every week. Been a little bit of a slow start to that, but we’ll get her going.”
-- Carlos Mendez