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Monday, January 2, 2012
Doug Free: 'I've definitely got to play better'

By Tim MacMahon



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Doug Free got paid like a premier left tackle. He performed like an average one, at best.

Free certainly didn’t justify his four-year, $32 million contract during the first season of the deal, when he allowed 9.5 sacks and committed six holding penalties and five false starts.

“I don’t know how to really answer that at the moment,” Free said after Sunday night’s season-ending loss when asked if that was a fair assessment. “It’s not something that’s running through my mind right now, with the loss and all. It’s not something I’m really concerned about.”

The Cowboys have to be concerned the 6-foot-6, 323-pound Free, especially after reviewing the film of this loss to the Giants. As was the case on Dec. 11, New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul easily got the best of Free.

Pierre-Paul recorded one sack and twice had pressure that resulted in sacks by teammates. Osi Umenyiora also beat Free for a sack.

“I’ve definitely got to play better,” Free said.

The Cowboys could help Free by switching him with right tackle Tyron Smith, who was the Cowboys’ best offensive lineman as a rookie. It’s a logical move that will soon be discussed by the Cowboys’ coaching staff and front office.

“That’s not a decision or anything I’m really in control of,” Free said. “We’ll see what happens.”