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Comparing 2010 Cowboys Offensive Line Grades

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Jonathan Bales

I recently completed my 2010 Offensive Line Grades for the ‘Boys, and I wanted to compare them with ratings of DC Times reader/contributor Vince Grey. . .

Ratings

Outstanding – One of the top players at his position in the NFL.
Superior – Well above average player, maybe a step below legit Pro Bowler. Well satisfied here.
Acceptable – Slightly above average player. Ideally, wouldn’t mind upgrading, but it’s very low priority.
Adequate – Average player. Not a liability, but not a strong point either. Would like to upgrade, but it’s not an absolute necessity.
Inferior – Slightly below average player.  Needs to be upgraded soon, but it’s not an emergency.
Abominable – One of the worst.  Top priority to upgrade this position as soon as possible.

LT Doug Free – “Acceptable” and doesn’t need a whole lot of improvement to move to “Superior,” at least as a pass blocker.  I can easily see Free becoming one of the better LTs in the league very soon. I don’t think he’ll ever be an All-Pro, but he might well make a Pro Bowl or two at some point.

DC Times Grade: B- (83.0)

Comparison: I’d say Vince and I agree here on Free.  While others saw Free as nearly flawless in 2010, that wasn’t the case.  Free was good, but not outstanding.  I personally think Free does have All-Pro potential and will continue to improve, but he isn’t there quite yet. 

LG Kyle Kosier –  “Acceptable.”  Kyle Kosier is one of those guys who never “wow”s you, but he does his job and does it effectively. You’d like him to be a better run blocker and both he and Davis are painfully slow, but KK isn’t a problem for this line.

DC Times Grade: B (86.2)

Comparison:  I’d also provide Kosier with an “Acceptable” rating on Vince’s scale.  At his age, he probably won’t be rising up to “Superior,” and now is the time to look for Kosier’s future replacement.  The Cowboys have done a poor job of letting players go before a steep decline in play.

C Andre Gurode – “Adequate.”  Somehow Andre keeps making the Pro Bowl, which is either an indictment of Pro Bowl voting, or the sorry state of NFC center play. Gurode’s snapping, especially shotgun snapping,  is actually “Inferior.”  His line calls, especially for blitz pickups, are “Inferior” as well.  His blocking, always his greatest strength, has slipped a lot, but I’d still rate him “Acceptable” in this area.

Thus, Gurode deserves an “Adequate” overall rating.  Frankly, his poor snapping irritates me so much I would love to see him replaced now, but I’ll concede the line has more pressing issues this year.  Still, I’d like to see Dallas grab a center prospect at some point and start grooming him as Andre’s replacement.

DC Times Grade: C+ (78.2)

Comparison: As Vince points out, Gurode isn’t a liability, but he’s also not a strength anymore.  A guard/center like Florida’s Mike Pouncey would make a lot of sense in the second round.

RG Leonard Davis – “Adequate.”  Going through a tough camp, getting in better shape, and playing with more fire might well bring Davis up to “Acceptable,” but frankly, he could also slide down to “Inferior” fairly quickly.  It would strongly behoove the Cowboys to bring in some young, strong competition, either as a replacement or to coerce better play.

DC Times Grade: B- (80.6)

Comparison:  I’d also give Davis an “Adequate” rating, although I think he’s close to being “Acceptable.”  He isn’t likely to improve, however, so his replacement needs to be found soon.

RT Marc Colombo – “Abominable.”  Not really much to say here. Colombo was possibly the worst starting RT in the league this past season.  Just brutal. How bad?  I wouldn’t even be comfortable with him as a backup.  I’ve heard some say he was hurt, but I know of no major injuries he had that would have affected his play this badly. 

Let’s put it this way: If Marc Columbo is still the starting RT for the Cowboys next season, then there’s no hope of the Cowboys’ offensive line improving as a unit.  Marc’s play will absolutely drag this unit down if he’s in there.

DC Times Grade: D- (63.0)

Comparison: Ditto.

Depth – “Inferior.” Alex Barron was a sad joke.  Dallas got him for a guy they were going to cut anyway, and still overpaid.  Montrae Holland is barely okay even as a backup.  Phil Costa and Sam Young have potential, but that’s about it.

Comparison: I provided only Holland with a grade because of small sample sizes for the other players.  I gave him a ‘C+’ (77.8).  I think he’s worth keeping as a backup.  Barron will be gone in 2011, and, like Vince stated, Costa and Young are pure potential at this point.

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7 Responses to Comparing 2010 Cowboys Offensive Line Grades

  1. Vince_Grey says:

    JB, you really think Free has legit All Pro potential? Wow. That means you feel he can be one of the top 2-3 LT’s in the entire NFL!

    That’s VERY strong. A lot stronger than I feel, obviously. To reach that level, Free would need to dominate all but the very best pass rushers… with no help, one on one… and at least keep it even with the very best. IMO, that’s a monster jump for a guy who hasn’t even made it as a Pro Bowl alternate yet.

    The last All Pro tackle the Cowboys had was Eric Williams before he had that wreck, and he was a RT, not a LT. Still, this was guy who just mauled most guys up against him and is to this day he’s the only tackle I recall who, for a while there, whipped up on Reggie White.

    I hold the two up for comparison and I just can’t see anything close to an equal draw there. Free, IMO, would need a LOT of improvement, both as a pass blocker and run blocker, to get to that level.

  2. Rick says:

    I doubt Doug Free ever makes a Pro Bowl. He deserved it over Chad Clifton and Donald Penn this year, but his lack of a name and the perception that he sucks is going to limit his votes, even if he’s a Cowboy.

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I think Doug Free is a natural RT. He runs better than most OGs (his pre-draft analysis actually had him projected as a pulling guard), played some tight end in college and arms are only 34″. He’s actually a better run blocker than pass blocker – RTs are “traditionally” the run blocking tackles of the two… but given that he’s the Boys’ best option on the left, leave him there.

    If a stud LT were avail in FA, I’d move him to the right in a sec. That is his “Pro Bowl” position.

  4. Rick says:

    Free is a good run blocker, but I don’t see him as a right tackle. You usually have a mauler on that side; Free is more of a finesse player. Free is one of the best second and third level blockers in the league, but rarely do you see him demolish the first level like Damien Woody, Kareem McKenzie, and other elite right tackles.

    Problem is, I don’t see a LT in free agency worth pursuing. There’s Jared Gaither… but there are so many red flags with him. Why did Baltimore actively try to rid themselves of him last offseason? Why do they have no interest in re-signing him? And back problems usually don’t go away (see: Andrews, Shaun). I’d like to bring him in, but not at his perceived market value.

  5. Vince–I do. Would I put money on it? No, but I do think the potential is there. Right now, I don’t think he’s even close to a guy like Joe Thomas or Ryan Clady, but he’s on his way. Let’s see the improvements he makes this year.

  6. I agree with Rick that Free is a more natural LT. He played well on the right side in ’09 because he’s a talented, hard-working player, but he isn’t really a mauling run blocker.

  7. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Good points Rick and Jon on Free not being a mauler. But not ALL RTs are of that sort.

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