OXNARD, Calif. -- For the past 12 seasons, the Dallas Cowboys never had a doubt who would line up at left tackle. Flozell Adams was maddening at times because the massive player often looked too passive. But if you talk to enough defensive ends around the league, Justin Tuck included, you'll realize that Adams has been one of the most dominating blockers in the game.
So in a year when his team has a legitimate shot at reaching a Super Bowl (in its stadium), why would owner Jerry Jones suddenly cut ties with one of the cornerstones of the offense? In his column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday, Randy Galloway asked Jones that very question. Galloway believes that a knee injury to Marc Colombo is just further proof that Jones was premature in his decision to put Adams out to pasture.
"While the April release of Flozell was a surprise and a second-guess picnic, his absence presents the plus/minus situation of dumping age and salary but creating depth questions," writes Galloway.
I do an afternoon drive-time radio show with Galloway on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas-Fort Worth, so I know how fluid his opinions can be. At the time of Adams' release, he claimed that the Cowboys would take a major step back at left tackle. Now, he seems to be embracing the Free era while wishing Adams were here to serve as a $5 million swing tackle. But what does the owner who showed up in a Panama Jack hat Tuesday think about his decision?
"Everyone wants the luxury of a veteran offensive line, but with that, you have to take the chance on age getting hurt," said Jones. "It's kind of a trade off."
Jones professed his "love" for Adams in the interview with Galloway, but then he quickly added that the 2010 Cowboys are better with Free at left tackle. It's funny that some people in the organization pointed to Adams' rough debut with the Steelers in a preseason game as proof they made the right decision.
That's a pretty self-serving observation and it doesn't do justice to a guy who was the best left tackle in the NFC East for several years. As I've stated many times since Adams' release, I think it was the right move because Free's ready for the challenge. There will be some bumps along the way, but he showed that he has the chops to be a starter during an extended tryout at right tackle during the '09 season.
Taking a proud player such as Adams and making him a backup would've been embarrassing to him. And let's not act like a bunch of teams around the league have immensely talented backups at every offensive line spot. Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo does as good a job as anyone developing those types of players, but the Eagles would still be in trouble if Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson couldn't start the season.
If you believe that Adams is a better player than Free, then it's understandable to second-guess Jones. If you believe that Adams would've been a nice backup, I don't like your argument.
Thanks for your time this afternoon.