Doug Free is a member of the best offensive line in Football with the Dallas Cowboys. He's also sometimes considered the weakest link of the pack. The volatile role Free plays was on display during the first half of the Monday Night Football game against the Detroit Lions, where the offensive tackle was both a key contributor and part of the larger problem.

A wild first half for Free

The best play of the first half for the Cowboys came on a touchdown run for star rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot. The Ohio State product followed the holes the Dallas offensive line was giving him and flew down the right sideline, diving for the pylon and scoring six points on a 55-yard touchdown run.

The biggest hole was created due to a massive block by Free, allowing Elliot to find the space to break free and do what he does best.

But Free also committed two costly penalties for the Cowboys towards the end of the half. He committed a false start on 3rd and 1; the five-yard penalty was followed by a five-yard scramble from quarterback Dak Prescott, leading to a punt. Then, on 3rd and 7 deep in Lions territory, Free committed a holding penalty, which was luckily cancelled out by an offsetting penalty. Dallas and Detroit are tied at 21 at halftime.

A waning career

Free has always had an issue with penalties -- he led the Cowboys in 2015 when he committed nine over the course of the season. The 10th-year veteran out of Northern Illinois provides a sense of leadership along a young line that is considered the best in football.

But with stars Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin on the Dallas line, it's clear Free is closer to the end of his tenure there than the start.

Dallas is the only team Free has known in his career, and despite never earning major accolades at the professional level, he has started 112 games for the Cowboys.

The first half of the Monday night game showed why he's so valuable to a line that has garnered MVP buzz. It also showed why fans are getting sick of having him be the weak point of a line expected to lead the team on a deep playoff run.

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