It’s never an easy task to be a day one starter as a rookie in a new position. Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Tyler Smith has done that and more in his first two starts.
The knee injury to Tyron Smith during training camp raised many concerns about an offensive line that has seen its share of injuries. Especially with Tyron Smith holding down the most important position of left tackle, this put Dallas in a panic to find the right replacement until he returns.
Jason Peters was signed onto the team just before the regular season began to be a potential replacement for Tyron Smith. Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy announced before the first game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that Tyler Smith was going to be the starter at left tackle.
This is somewhat of a big change for Tyler Smith as the expectation for this season was, he was going to play guard and eventually take over for Tyron Smith at left tackle in the future. Tyron Smith’s injury moved the timeline up way sooner than expected.
How Has Tyler Smith Done So Far?
Many experts have agreed that he has not been perfect but has shown a ton of potential in two starts. In two games so far, Tyler Smith allowed just three quarterback pressures and one quarterback hurry. He hasn’t allowed a sack through the first two games.
Coach McCarthy has already seen an improvement in Smith’s play in the short amount of time he has been on the field.
“Tyler is an alpha personality and he enjoys playing,” coach McCarthy said. “He definitely improved from week one to week two.” Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys Head Coach
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His technique still needs some work when dealing with pass protection, but he is lightyears ahead of where most experts thought he would be. His biggest strength has been his run blocking as he has done a great job paving the way for Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard on the left side of the field. He isn’t perfect, but the ability to adapt to the position has made him emerge as a potential cornerstone player sooner than expected. Even offensive coordinator Kellen Moore sees his potential.
“I think he’s going to be awesome,” coach Moore said. “Any time you have a younger guy, there’s going to be moments where you’re going to learn a couple of things on the fly, some sort of protection thing. He’s been really solid out there.” Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
What’s Next For Cowboys’ Lineman Tyler Smith?
The Cowboys will eventually see Tyron Smith and guard Connor McGovern return to the starting lineup. McGovern will be back sooner as he could be back this week or next week. Dallas’ guard position should be good to go once McGovern returns.
One lingering question comes from whether Tyler Smith will continue to be the left tackle or does the team turn to future hall of fame tackle Jason Peters. While Peters has already proven that he can be one of the best starting left tackles in the league, Smith is the future of the franchise and has only shown improvement each week.
Peters makes for great insurance in case something goes wrong with Smith. The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should be the saying Dallas follows by allowing Smith to continue as the starter at left tackle. Dallas might have something special and could have the next great Cowboys offensive lineman blocking Cooper Rush and Dak Prescott’s blind side.