Jerry Jones in Doug Free's corner

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The conventional wisdom regarding the switch of tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free, which was announced Thursday by coach Jason Garrett, is that the Cowboys are disappointed in Free.

Free was credited with allowing 10 sacks in 2011 after signing a four-year, $32 million extension in August, but owner and general Jerry Jones is not down on Free.

“I think we’re too tough on Free,” Jones said. “Although he had 10 sacks against him I think in all of our criticism of that position, it’s going to be like cornerback and it’s going to get some of the best. But I think we’re too tough on him. He will get better.”

The Cowboys drafted Smith with the No. 9 overall pick last year with the idea he could move to left tackle eventually. Free broke into the lineup in 2009 at right tackle and performed well there after Marc Colombo suffered a fractured ankle. Free moved to the left side in 2010 when the club decided to part ways with Flozell Adams.

“I’m not at all dismayed by Free,” Jones said, “but we certainly want him to do better and let that sack total against him go down.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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