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Head coach Wade Phillips hasn't stated publicly that Doug Free will replace injured right tackle Marc Colombo in the starting lineup.
However, the man who practices against Free every day expects Free to get the job. And Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware promises to help Free prepare for the Washington Redskins, who feature two of the league's top 10 sacks leaders in DE Andre Carter and OLB Brian Orakpo.
Most of Free's work in practice this season has come as the left tackle on the scout team, pitting him against the NFL's reigning sacks leader. That work has Ware believing that Free will be fine as a starter on the other side.
"He stops me a lot in practice," Ware said after serving meals to folks at The Salvation Army's Carr P. Collins Social Services Center in Dallas as part of the Cowboys' annual early Thanksgiving charity outing. "To be honest, Doug is really good. I think it's all about him getting in there and getting confidence."
Ware vows that he'll take scout-team reps across from Free this week. Ware wants to make sure that Free, a fourth-round pick in 2007, is as prepared as possible for his first NFL start.
"Make sure he's ready," Ware said. "There's nothing that he's not going to see. He's going to see the real thing in practice."