Doug Free is ready to take over

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Ran into the new starting left tackle, Doug Free, on one of the holes during the Cowboys annual golf outing on Tuesday.

Free has the new gig as a result of the Cowboys cutting left tackle Flozell Adams.

Last year, Free took over for starting right tackle Marc Colombo (ankle and leg) for 10 regular-season games. When Adams was injured in the playoff loss at Minnesota, Free replaced him.

"I got a lot of hard work to put in and I’m obviously excited," Free said. "Last year, getting a chance to play and I think playing pretty well, most people thought stuff like that, they definitely have some faith in me. It's the other side of the ball [going from right to left], but I think I’ve proven that I can play."

When the Cowboys traded inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter for tackle Alex Barron it raised some questions regarding their confidence in Free.

The team still values Free but wants to add some competition to the offensive line.

"The more people we got in the better, the better the competition, the better the offensive line," Free said. "Like last year, with Marc going down, the more confidence you have, the better it is for your team."

There was some concerns about whether or not Free was ready to make the move up the depth chart. Pat McQuistan struggled to become the swing tackle, and in training camp Free moved past him.

He was one of the more trusted offensive linemen on the team last year, and the Cowboys expect positive things from him again.

"Until you get out on the field and in a game situation in the regular season, you really don’t know what you’re getting into," Free said. "So, getting out there [with] a chance to play was definitely an advantage for me. I couldn’t be more excited. Nobody plays to sit the bench, nobody plays to watch the games, everybody plays. They are working hard to play."