I'll go ahead and make a confession right here at the start of this article - when the Dallas Cowboys drafted Travis Frederick in the first round of last year's draft, my immediate reaction was not happy, happy, joy, joy. Truth be told it was more like "who, what, a center?" That was the general reaction across the national punditry as the pick was pretty much panned be everybody. Happy to report, we were all wrong.
The Dallas Cowboys did the right thing as Frederick stepped in from day one as a starter and anchored a line that is rapidly becoming one of the best in the NFL. The good news is Frederick is likely to get better as he moves through his sophomore season. He's trying to improve himself by refining his technique.
"Hand placement has been a big thing for me," Frederick said. "In college it’s just about getting it done. If you’re strong, you have a better opportunity because no matter where you grab usually you can just hold on. But in the NFL with the great talent we play against and even here in who we practice against every day, you really have to focus on where you’re playing your hands and an inch can make a huge difference."
You got to like hearing that the guy is such a stickler for detail and that he recognizes that you can keep learning even though you're a pro. But he's just not trying to help himself, he's working to help the whole team by taking some of the mental load off of QB Tony Romo.
"I’m going to try and do as much as I can to take as much as I can off Tony that he was doing before for the offensive line," he said. "Not necessarily because I was a rookie or this or that, but because, if I can see it better, that’s going to take one thing off his plate and that’s going to help the team as a whole."
"I think what really has helped is going through the season last year," Frederick said. "It’s literally about situations. You can talk about as many situations as you can think of and still see 50 more. It’s about being in situations and maybe you make a mistake. Maybe last year I’d change the Mike (linebacker call) on something and he would rather have kept it. After it happened, he told me, ‘OK, this is what I would’ve done.’ Now in the next situation I can do it."
So how many of you out there we're mildly disappointed to outright irate when the Cowboys picked Frederick last year? How many of you are now on the Fredbeard train?