When the Dallas Cowboys selected Travis Frederick in April’s draft, they were questioned by almost everybody. How could they pick someone who didn’t have as high of a draft grade as some of the other players who were still available?
Fast forward a few months and even though people still have their doubts, the Cowboys don’t seem to share that concern. If anything, Frederick has reaffirmed the Cowboys faith in him with his football intelligence. According to the Star-Telegram the center has stood out because of his football IQ.
“One of the traits that we identified early was his ability to communicate, his retention of the system, his ability to communicate it out,” offensive line coach Bill Callahan said.
It’s a great sign that a rookie, who plays the most important position on the offensive line, can communicate the line calls effectively. The ability to understand what the defense is doing and knowing how to adjust the rest of the offensive line to block properly cannot be overstated. It’s a huge responsibility and Frederick appears to be handling it well.
Perhaps even more impressive was what Callahan said while expanding on Frederick:
“You tell him one time, and he gets it,” Callahan said. “He may err on occasion, but he’s not a repetitive error guy. He’s not going to make the same mistake twice. He listens, he learns. He understands the situations that he’s in and he can fix it on the move.”
In reading that there is no question, the Cowboys have been impressed with Frederick’s football intelligence and he’s everything they expected him to be. With all the problems the Cowboys offensive line has had in the past few years, it’s a breath of fresh air to have such a smart player who understands the game take the controls at center.
Nothing against Phil Costa but I cannot recall the Cowboys talking about him in this way, even when they were glowing over him when they made the decision for him to be their starting center a few years ago. In fact, sometimes Dallas had guard Kyle Kosier making the line adjustments for Costa during his first year. There will be none of that with Frederick, and for someone like Jason Garrett, who puts a premium on football intelligence, Frederick is a great fit.
“For a young guy, he really seems to grasp what we’re trying to get accomplished in a short period of time,” head coach Jason Garrett said.
The Cowboys’ faith in Frederick and his football IQ makes it fairly obvious that he’ll enter the season as the starting center. Question the pick all you want but the Cowboys have found a player they desperately needed in Travis Frederick.