Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gholson: New 'Poke needs a kick start

By Nick Gholson

As I was doing some research on the newest Dallas Cowboy this past week, I ran across this comment from a St. Louis writer who had watched him play the past four season with the Rams.

The guy said he viewed Alex Barron “as a penalty-prone lazy stump of a player who isn’t worth his grain in salt.”

So I sought out a second opinion.

Charlie Carr, the athletic director at Midwestern State, was the senior associate athletic director at Florida State when Barron played for the Seminoles.

“He’s a great athlete. He has great feet. He moves well. He had some of the same abilities as Walter Jones, the guy he replaced,” Carr said, comparing him to the former Florida State offensive tackle who went on to become a four-time first team All-Pro selection with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Midwestern AD followed that up with a big “BUT” — with one “t,” not two.

“BUT he was not an aggressive kind of guy. He never played up to his potential,” Carr said.

Then I threw in my own “but.”

“But Alex Barron was a consensus first team All-American and an Outland Trophy finalist at Florida State,” I reminded him.

“He’s got all the tools, but his motor just doesn’t go as quick as you want it to,” Carr explained. “And when you get to that next level, you have to step it up.”

The Rams obviously couldn’t rev his motor. They traded their first-round draft pick of 2005 to the Cowboys for linebacker Bobby Carpenter, Dallas’ first-round pick of 2006.

Barron, a 6-7, 302-pounder, was the 19th player taken in the 2005 draft — one spot before the Cowboys took Marcus Spears.

Carpenter, out of Ohio State, went 18th a year later, one spot before the Chargers took All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie, also from Florida State.

Carpenter was a Bill Parcells choice. His dad, Rob Carpenter, had played for Parcells when he coached the Giants.

Nobody in Dallas will miss Carpenter, who just never could fit into the 3-4 defense that Parcells himself installed.

Ditto for Barron in St. Louis.

Even though he started 74 of 76 games (72 more starts than Carpenter), the Rams were fed up with the most penalized player in the NFL.

Barron should fit right in with the Cowboys.

He’s coming to a team that already has a few “first-and-15” plays in its playbook.

Adams was Dallas’ starting offensive left tackle in 178 games over the past 12 years.

Yet he is best known for all the false start penalties with his number on them.

Adams was whistled 53 times the last four years.

Only one player heard more whistles. Barron drew 73 penalties.

Hopefully, the change of scenery will be good for both Barron and Carpenter.

The Cowboys have penciled in Doug Free to take Adams’ place. They traded for Barron to get depth.

Anything else will be a bonus.

In today’s world, character is more of an issue than ever before.

Too many good players turn out to be bad guys.

So what about this newest Cowboy?

Are there any character flaws we need to know about?

“Not a wink,” Carr said. “He’s a great kid, a great person.”

Now if someone in Dallas can just figure out how to get that motor of his running.