The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

2 Ways to Fix Cowboys’ Pass Protection

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How can the Cowboys keep Tony Romo upright?

Bench Right Tackle Doug Free

Free has absolutely been one of the worst linemen in the NFL this year. He’s yielded pressure on 7.5 percent of his pass protection snaps. Sack numbers differ a bit based on who you ask, but I have Free as allowing seven sacks. And perhaps most telling of all, Free leads the league in penalties with 13—one per game.

It’s difficult to bench a player who you recently paid big bucks, but in economic terms Free’s contract is a sunk cost. That money is gone, and so it shouldn’t be used as justification to play him. Even NFL executives and coaches fall into the “we paid him so he’s playing” trap, but there’s no reason to start a sub-optimal player. We saw a little bit of Jermey Parnell on Sunday. He struggled, but he’s not worse than Free. It’s time to start him for good.

See the other way the Cowboys can protect Romo at NBC.

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