An interesting note about Doug Free this season: In the first 5.5 games, he allowed 0 sacks on Tony Romo. In the last 5.5 games, he has allowed 3.5 sacks on Jon Kitna. You could say that this is because he has something against Kitna, but I believe the truth lies elsewhere.
Around week 5 or 6, when Free had dealt with many stiff challenges early in the season so well: Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, etc, we pointed out that the Cowboys true weakness on the OL appears to be more on the right side with Colombo and Davis. Well, the Cowboys started "taking the training wheels off Free" which is a way of saying they started helping him with a Tight End or a chipping RB much, much less. Instead, the help moved more and more over to Colombo and now we are seeing more of Free on an island against a DE.
And this is where you see where Free is. Good enough that he doesn't need as much help as your RT, but still a guy who can get beat occasionally if you give him no help. So, in the last month or so, he has quickly risen up the charts of sacks allowed, and now only trails Leonard Davis for the season.
Something to keep an eye on.
Play #50 - 1/10/D48 - "22" Sack
What Happened: This is the very rare sack that accompanies a 5 yard gain on the fumble recovery. You would certainly prefer to face a 2nd and 5 after a sack on 1st and 10, right? Anyway, this play shows that Doug Free has had a reasonable first year at Left Tackle, but he still needs to be at the top of his game every week. A Left Tackle will always face the oppositions' best Defensive End, and the hits keep coming every week. This week, the Saints had Will Smith rushing him, and this time, Smith beats him and gets to Kitna. Pretty straight forward here. What is interesting is that this is a sack against "22" personnel, which I always talk about where the Cowboys declare run and then like to roll out play action and ambush the defense. However, this time, the Saints had seen enough and were ready to pounce with a strong pass rush as the inside man also tossed Kosier aside and nearly ran through Marion Barber, too. But, Smith beat Free quicker, and the fumble occurred. This is the first sack allowed all season in "22" personnel. The Cowboys have run 93 plays out of "22" this season (although 70 of those plays have been runs).
Season To Date Sacks
The Rankings for the season in Sacks Allowed among the OL: Davis 4.5, Free 3.5, Coverage 3.5, Colombo 2.5, Costa 2, Gurode 1, Jones 1, Colombo.
Bob Sturm is host of BaD Radio on The Ticket 1310 AM Mondays through Fridays at 12-3 p.m. He also hosts The Ticket's Cowboys pregame show. Follow Bob on Twitter at
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