Although he won’t be part of it, happily retired center Travis Frederick anticipates a return to prominence for the Dallas Cowboys this season.
“The team is set up extremely well. The front office did a great job of getting people in place,” Frederick recently told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “On paper, it looks like a really, really solid team. They have a chance to go far.
“I’m excited to see them and watch them, and hopefully provide some outside guidance. I know whoever takes over at center will be well-cared for.”
Frederick abruptly called it quits on March 24, walking away from the game with five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections to his name. The 31st overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft, he was a true ironman in Dallas, making 96 starts across his seven-year career (he missed the 2018 campaign due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder).
Frederick retired having logged 1,117 offensive snaps (99.64 percent), most among all of the Cowboys’ stalwart offensive linemen, including fellow perennial Pro Bowlers Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. He was the glue holding together the league’s best front-five, and his loss was massive.
For now, Joe Looney will slide into the primary pivot role. Looney, fresh off inking a new contract with the Cowboys, replaced Frederick in 2018 during the latter’s aforementioned medical battle. He held his own, but No. 72’s absence was obvious.
If Looney cannot adequately care for the position, it’s possible the team works in fourth-round rookie interior lineman Tyler Biadasz, who, like Frederick, starred collegiately at Wisconsin.
“We used to watch so much film on Travis when he was in college and when he was a Cowboy,” Biadasz said in his post-draft conference call. “I met him twice in my life. He’s a great dude who comes from a great background… I’m just happy I get to play for the Cowboys.”
Biadasz is 6-foot-3, 316 pounds; Frederick’s playing weight was listed as 6-foot-4, 317 pounds. These men, physically speaking, are mirror images through no control of their own. They’re also very comparable mentally and athletically — this, however, by design.
“Obviously, he’s one of the greats. He’s an animal, and I try to mold my game just like that,” Biadasz said of Frederick. “I think our body types are very similar, and I look forward to just keeping up what he’s placed in the Dallas organization.”
While Looney and Biadasz represent downgrades from Frederick, they’re not weak enough links to disrupt an offense which finished first in total yards, second in passing, fifth in rushing, and sixth in scoring last year. An already powder-kegged unit that was further weaponized with the arrival of first-round wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
Dallas, too, bolstered its defense via free agency, signing linemen Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, pass rusher Aldon Smith, cornerbacks Daryl Worley and Maurice Canady and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. They also landed second- and fourth-round CBs Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson, third-round DL Neville Gallimore, and fifth-round edge defender Bradlee Anae.
Provided the influx of talent coalescences as desired, and the Cowboys’ new coaching staff maximizes each player’s respective ability, there’s no reason for Frederick’s proclamation not to come true.
The Cowboys have the potential (keyword) to make a deep run this January — and perhaps, if the stars really align, into February.
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