Doug Free needs more bite

IRVING, Texas – Sunday’s game against Cleveland was not one of Doug Free’s best moments.

He played at least a part in four of the seven sacks of Tony Romo to the Browns. After a slow start to the season, Free played good enough for a few weeks, but Sunday’s game was a sharp regression. If Tyron Smith were healthy, perhaps the Cowboy would consider starting Jermey Parnell at right tackle.

What has happened?

“It’s a technical thing,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It’s a demeanor thing. He just has to keep working on it and doing a better job and that’s really across the board up front and that’s really throughout our football team.”

As much as Garrett tried to deflect the attention away from Free, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal last year, he can’t.

Free is not the type of person to change after getting paid. He is not lazy. He spends the offseason at Valley Ranch as much as anyone. Confidence is an issue.

Garrett has another answer.

“I think more than anything else when you talk about that with Doug, Doug is a very good athlete,” Garrett said. “He’s got really good feet. He’s got long arms. He can move pretty well, and sometimes you can play to those strengths of your movement and your finesse ability. And oftentimes up there, it can be a dogfight, too. So you’ve got to play with that demeanor where you’re going to bite the guy a little bit and be firm and not let him push you back into the quarterback.”