Travis Frederick, Out With Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Only a few days ago, the Cowboys received great news about right guard, Zack Martin, after a preseason scare vs the Bengals last Saturday.   Martin was undercut by a Bengal’s defender and had to be helped off the field by the training staff, and thankfully, the MRI came back negative. Dallas really dodged a bullet because we all remember what happened last year against Atlanta when Tyron Smith got hurt. If you don’t remember what happened, I’ll tell you this, bad things happen when we lose an offensive lineman.   On Wednesday the 22nd, we received news that center, Travis Frederick, staple of the Cowboys offensive line, has a rare disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Travis Frederick has been busy for the last week, seeing different specialists about his neck pain, which was originally reported to be stingers.  Yesterday, owner Jerry Jones told the world that Frederick received good news and that he expected him to play against Carolina.  Man, was that wrong.

This is the most devastating news the Cowboys have received during the preseason since Tony Romo broke his back.   This is a HUGE  blow for the Cowboys because backup center Joe Looney is unproven and represents a significant dropoff from Travis from the perspectives of both experience and continuity on offense.

The Cowboys really don’t have too many options here.  One is to get on the phone with the Seahawks and make a trade for Earl Thomas to shore up another position.  The logic behind this?  If the offense has taken a hit, best to load up on the other side of the ball.   Another option is to somehow acquire a new center, whether it be a trade or a signing.   The third option would be ‘Trust the Process.”  Start Joe Looney and trust that the rest of the line can protect him.

In my opinion, Joe Looney makes the most sense. He stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 315lbs.  The biggest problem with Looney is that we really haven’t seen him play.  He has started only thirteen games in his six season career.  He was originally a 4th round draft pick to San Francisco, but has recently signed a two year deal to stay with the Cowboys after arriving in 2016.  The other thing about Joe Looney is he is in the company of Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins — if you have three players like that on your line, which is rare, mistakes can be covered up.  So long as Looney is not Chaz Green, who we saw give up 1,000,000 sacks in one game, we should be okay.

To me, this doesn’t do too much to our playoff chances, as I saw us maybe clinching a wild card to sneak into the postseason.  Today, even after the Travis Frederick news, I could still see that.  The Eagles will very likely win the division this year, but I could see Looney doing a solid job and us still  grabbing a wild card spot.  Even without Frederick, I really cannot see us losing very many games with Ezekiel Elliott, the best all-around RB in the league,  Dak Prescott, an up-and-coming starting QB, and our defense, which I think will be very good, at least based on what I’ve seen in the preseason.

The four-time Pro Bowler has a very rare disorder, where your immune system basically attacks the nerves.  Many doctors have been asked about recovery time since the news, and they have basically said that everybody handles it differently, but recovery could take 6-12 months.  This means, if this timeline is true, we may see Travis Frederick start next season.

Travis wrote a letter to Dallas to tell everybody what was going on.  He seemed very optimistic about his situation and that the doctors discovered the disease fairly early.  

The only thing that we can really do is pray for Travis’ well being and wish him the best luck.

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