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May 10, 2012

Doug Free, moving to right tackle, says this is the best time to make OL changes

Doug Free said the move back to right tackle is going well for him, and that this is the time to do it.

“It’s nice doing it in the offseason. Everybody’s got a chance to figure it out, go through training camp, compared to doing it during the season,” he said Wednesday at the Cowboys’ annual golf tournament. “This last year, we had a lot of rotation with guys and stuff, so getting the lines set early, getting the training camp under our belt with everybody together, definitely should help.”

Free and second-year tackle Tyron Smith are switching places. Smith, who started all 16 games at right tackle as a rookie, is going to the left side.

But that is not the only change. Free agent signees Mackenzie Bernardeau and Nate Livings are expected to be plugged in at the guard spots. Last year, the Cowboys used four players – Bill Nagy, Kevin Kowalski, Montrae Holland and Derrick Dockery – at guard.

Free said he has enjoyed meeting the new additions, Bernardeau and Livings.

“I hadn’t met them before they came here, but both of them seem to have great personalities, be great guys in general, hard workers, quiet guys,” Free said. “I think they’ll fit right in our group. They’ll be a great fit.”

So it sounds like Free is the veteran statesman of the offensive line now, with Kyle Kosier having been released. In  the space of a a calendar year, the Cowboys also parted ways with veteran tackle Marc Colombo, veteran guard Leonard Davis and veteran center Andre Gurode.

“I’m up there in age now, I guess,” Free said, smiling at a question about whether he’d be the one giving the orders now. “But Livings has got a lot of years under his belt, too. He’s also a veteran player.”

Free, a fourth-round pick in 2007, hasn’t forgotten the education he got from Kosier, Colombo, Gurorde and Adams.

“You learned a lot from those guys, getting a chance to come in here, just learning some of their techniques, how they handle situations, how they work. A lot of great workers I got to work under.”

Free played right tackle late in 2009 when he filled in for an injured Colombo, so the transition for him isn’t abrupt.

“It’s mainly just thinking everything different, opposite, just kind of getting settled over there, used to how everything is called,” he said. “Instead of being on one side, you’re on the other. But getting this time to get used to it is definitely a positive.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez


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Gene..Free got moved to left tackle..had ONE good year there..then was PAID left tackle money and promptly...stunk up the joint last season. You my friend are an..idiot..if you think Doug Free deserves the money he's being paid after his performance last season.

Gentlemen, there is a reason Left Tackle
is the most important position on the
O-line and that reason is that there are
very few guys can handle that spot.

That is precisely why the Cowboys put up
with Flozell Adams false starts for years
and Parcells gave the man a big contract
early in his tenure with The 'Boys.

I would say that Free did admirably well for a true RT, he never was a true
LT and we all knew that, so let's give
the guy a break ... he's not all that bad and we'll see that at RT this yr.

Free had his problems but it seemed to me that we had a lot of interior breakdowns- guys coming right down our throat. Nagy was a bigger liability in my opinion. I really was impressed with this guy Kowalski. He filled in at center and I think both guard positions and always did a solid job. And, in addition, his name is Kowalski for cryin out loud. Seriously though, flipping Free to the right should remove a lot of his "stiffness" and if the interior is better via free agency, it should be a marked improvement. If not, I say start Kowalski, who I think won the Center job last year..

Why? Is it a problem that we call a guy a stiff when he is a stiff? Doug Free was an embarrassment last year. An absolute disgrace. You guys who do nothing but shake your pom poms are the exact type of fans that Jerry Jones wants. That is..."everything is peachy and if its not quite peachy right now, lets keep shaking our pom poms and maybe one day it WILL be peachy". Thats exactly what Jerry Jones wants. Sorry, but not all of us choose to be cheerleaders. When someone is a total stiff, we like to mention it. And Doug Free was a stiff last year. Worthless.

i really like the optimism and attitudes o fall the posters. i cant believe that any of you sre Cowboys fans if you are then cheer for Philly.

Doug Free got paid and then turned into the ultimate stiff. A real DOG. Couldnt block and how about the horrendous penalties? No penalties are good ones, but he had some real untimely ones. Not nearly worth what he is now being paid. A complete stiff. Wish he was gone.

Doug Free..you're a professional football player. Shouldn't matter whether it's now or during the season if you or anyone else has to move around on the offensive line due to injuries or whatever. Your thoughts sound like an excuse for your sub-par play last season. Not going to cut it here! Earn your pay!!

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