It seems as if the entire NFL world is piling on Dallas Cowboys right tackle Alex Barron(notes); that's what happens when your obvious hold on Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo(notes) kills what might have been a game-winning touchdown pass had a replacement-level lineman been replacing Tony Romo's(notes) front side as opposed to a guy who's been flagged an astonishing 78 times in the last five seasons, plus the Dallas game. At Shutdown Corner, we've been watching the Barron bandwagon go by with a sense of wonder since the Cowboys traded for him in the offseason.
We can now add a more intelligent voice than our own to the fire choir: NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, one of the best X-and-O guys in the business, recently took Barron apart in reviewing his Week 1 performance on the NFL Network's must-watch "Playbook" show. Mayock didn't just focus on the Orakpo hold; he got all forensic and showed us that Barron had been a problem throughout the game and was the primary reason for the Cowboys' 13-7 loss.
"Defensively, they're good enough to win football games, but I don't think their right tackle is good enough to win on offense," Mayock told co-host Solomon Wilcots. "And Alex Barron didn't show me anything in St. Louis that would show me that he could start for Dallas."
First, Mayock went after Barron for bad technique at the point of attack. "You've got [safety LaRon] Landry coming into the hole -- that is a defensive back! All you've gotta do is move your feet -- don't overextend! Move your feet, you get overextended, Landry makes the play from behind. Poor job by Alex Barron ... against a third-level player."
Second example -- more bad form. "Now, he's going to be too high against a bull rush. In the pass rush, get your butt down! Let me see that again; that was horrible. SIT DOWN like you're sitting on a seat. Jack him up! You're going to get walked back into your quarterback, and that forces Romo off his spot."
And then, the piece de resistance; the hold against Orakpo: "The big play of the game -- I want to talk about a grabber as opposed to a puncher. That's just two arms grabbing -- that's an easy hold call. You've got to punch in the middle of his chest. And from the way I look at this, it didn't matter if it was the run game at the point of attack, or the most critical play in the ballgame, where your quarterback turns around and makes a play, your right tackle killed you. I want to see him punch, not grab, but that's what he does on almost every pass play."
The Cowboys are preparing to face the Bears on Sunday, and you can bet that if Barron's out there in place of the injured Marc Colombo(notes), Chicago will look to put Julius Peppers(notes) on Barron as much as possible. That should be a very scary thought for Dallas fans.
- Alex Barron