By now, you’ve probably seen several reports that Doug Free practiced at right guard for the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday. If you haven’t already jumped to conclusions, don’t because it likely doesn’t mean much, if anything — at least not yet.
The Cowboys have set-in-stone starters at left tackle, left guard and center in Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary and Travis Frederick; that much is certain. Free’s name is pretty much penned at right tackle in permanent ink unless he just absolutely sets the woods on fire at right guard the rest of this week and in the Cowboys’ fourth preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday night.
Even then, Jeremy Parnell would also have to turn heads at right tackle for there to be any real depth chart changes before the Cowboys’ regular season opener against the New York Giants.
It’s likely that Free will start at right tackle and Mackenzy Bernadeau will start at right guard unless something crazy happens between now and Sept. 8, which isn’t out of the question. However, it’s important to remember the Cowboys have been very experimental with their offensive line all offseason, especially considering all the injuries, so this shouldn’t be a big surprise.
But Free has had a great camp at right tackle and has shown a lot of improvement from his incredibly disappointing 2011 and ’12 campaigns, although it remains to be seen whether that refinement will translate to the regular season. If it does, then the Cowboys will only have one relatively questionable spot on their offensive line moving forward. If it doesn’t, Free will be looking for work this time next year.