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December 03, 2012

Garrett said he did not think about benching Free, and that Free and the line got better later in the game

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he did not consider benching right tackle Doug Free in Sunday night’s game against the Eagles.

“No. Just keep battling in there,” Garrett said, asked if the team considered replacing Free after halftime. Free gave up a sack and a half, had a holding penalty and had another holding penalty negated by offsetting penalties as he struggled with Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham.

“Doug’s been a good player for us,” Garrett said. “The strength of their defense is those defensive ends. They can really rush the passer. They get in those ‘Wide-9’ techniques and really come after the passer and they present some problems. Doug just has to keep battling. I thought as the game wore on, he played better.”

Garrett said the Cowboys as a unit protected better in the second half. Quarterback Tony Romo did not throw an incompletion in the second half.

“I thought our line battled as the game wore on,” Garrett said. “In protection, I thought the run blocking was fairly consistent throughout, and over time, you wear them down a little bit. But it’s a very good defensive front. They put a lot of different pressure on  you. Those guys did a good job up front. Tony was very efficient.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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Doug Free is not as bad a player as most people think. I blame more of Free's problems on the O-Line coach and the guards. The reason I blame the guards is because on several of sacks he has given up he is doing exactly what a tackle is suppose to do, create a pocket by pushing the de up field. This technique only works if the qb has a place to step up. Many times he doesn't as the guard center gap is blown up. A few times he as just been beat, happens to the best of us, and I have also seen sacks that can be blamed completely on Romo as he likes to hold the ball for five or six seconds... Need to get it out within 3 sec. I blame the line coach because his system is not working at all. There is poor communication amount the line itself and it looks like Free is not at all comfortable with his guard, yes this makes a big difference, trust me I have played alot of football and played in college, as an Olineman. Another thing I have noticed is Free when free has been ineffective he is standing straight up and letting shorter defenders get underneath him and as a previous poster said his pad level is to high and I would agree with that assessment. A tackle will do that for 3 reasons, 1) lower back injury tat he isn't telling anyone about 2) bad technique habit that is harder to correct than people may think 3) he doesn't trust who he is playing with and is unsure who to commit to. Number three could also be confusion with the scheme but this far into the season I doubt that is the case, first few games yes. Also switching from right tackle to left is harder than you think. Trust me I have done it a few times and I can't imagine what it would be like in the NFL.

@BringBackTheFlex: I would not bet money that Callahan has told or done anything for Free or anyone else on the O-line. The man's a loser and he's made losers of every team he's been associated with.

I know it's easy to sit here and judge a professional player, but...

The little experience I had playing OL, it was key to keeping your pad level low and your feet moving. Like guarding a guy in basketball - if you stand up and don't stay on the balls of your feet you will get beat. Free's pad level is very high and he doesn't move his feet. I have to believe Callahan has told him this, but he's either not getting it or in the heat of the moment returns to bad habits. Either way, he needs to sit until he can perform better.

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