Dallas Cowboys’ LT Tyron Smith, the player responsible for protecting franchise QB Tony Romo’s blindside, went down with an injury in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. The Dallas Cowboys have been struggling for years to put together a solid offensive line. For many fans, the playoff loss to Minnesota was a sign that that Cowboys’ owner and General Manager Jerry Jones had been neglecting the offensive line for years. Jones’ detractors argued that he was more interested in signing big names to sell tickets and jerseys, than drafting players to man the trenches and win football games.
After 11 weeks, it is commonly accepted that the offensive line is the weak link on this Dallas Cowboys team, but most also believe that Tyron Smith is solid at the most important position on the line.
The extent of Smith’s current injury is not known, but it seems certain that he will be unable to play this Thursday, on Thanksgiving, when the Cowboys face the despised Washington Redskins.
Dallas Cowboy fans, and anyone who cares about the physical well-being of Tony Romo, should start worrying. The Cowboys’ interior line could not protect Romo when Smith was healthy. Now the Cowboys will have to face opposing defenses’ best pass-rushers with Tyron Smith’s replacement.
Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett got extremely lucky in 2011. Their back-up swing tackle, Jermey Parnell, didn’t have to play much. Few fans realize the risk the Cowboys took all of last year when they kept only one back-up tackle on the roster, especially when that back-up had never played a snap in the NFL. Remember, this is the same Jermey Parnell that played basketball in college, and only played one year of football as a defensive end.
Given the problems and injuries that the Dallas Cowboys have at center, the injury to Tyron Smith could be devastating. Jermey Parnell, despie any potential he may have, is highly unlikely to be ready to play at a high level.
You would think that it would make sense to move RT Doug Free over to LT (he has played there for a year) and put the inexperienced Parnell in at RT, but after the way Free looked ‘statue-like’ against the Browns, having him protect Romo from speed-rushers also seems frightening,
Now that Tyron Smith is hurt, Tony Romo’s health depends on DeMarco Murray coming back and running the ball.