The All-Pro center, who has been sidelined this season after being stricken with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, reacted to offensive line coach Paul Alexander being replaced by Marc Colombo earlier this week. His sentiments unquestionably are felt beyond just the offensive line room. He called the move in the middle of the season “a shocking blow” to the unit. It serves two purposes, he said.
“There’s a coaching change so there’s going to be some difference there, but also it tells you that the head coach and the management are not pleased with the way we’re playing,” Frederick said. “So it’s kind of a reminder to us as a group that we need to be playing better.”
The offensive line is hardly the only issue with the team. Dallas also traded for receiver Amari Cooper during the bye week. So why does it seem as if all the blame is being placed on the o-line?
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“In this game, there’s no opportunities for excuses and explanations. It’s a results-oriented game,” said Frederick, when it was pointed out that he’s been out of the lineup and rookie guard Connor Williams has started every game. “Even if things aren’t working your way you have to be able to provide and perform. If you’re not, then something’s got to change. In this case they made a change at the coaching level but you often see it at the personnel level as well.”
Frederick said some of his teammates reacted differently to Alexander’s techniques, but he plans on keeping some in his “tool box.” He said going forward it’s not about assigning blame for any failures in the first seven games, but getting it fixed quickly.
“This isn’t a one-man blame game. Something wasn’t working and we needed a change,” he said. “For us, it’s a shot to us as a group, saying ‘Listen, this has got to get better.’ We need to figure out not whose fault it is but what we can do to get better.”
Frederick felt the same way about the play of the line at the bye week a year ago.
“This is all about a quest to get to that standard and get to that level we know we’re capable of playing. We just have to figure out what it is we need to do to make that happen,” he said.
Frederick said he’s feeling good but progress has slowed. He’s not eligible to return from the injured reserve list until Week 14 but with the time missed, it’s unclear how much rehabilitation time he’d need to regain playing shape.
“I’m optimistic, but I don’t know at this time,” he said.