When Tyron Smith returned to the Dallas Cowboys lineup, it marked a new era in Smith’s career. His role, position, and even general effectiveness were in question and the man who had once been the anchor of the offensive line suddenly looked like an extra part.
One Terence Steele injury later, and Tyron once again became every bit as important as he once was. Volunteering to play right tackle, a position he hadn’t played since his rookie season, Tyron made the move to the port side of the deck – a difficult transition for anyone, especially a player with 11 years of muscle memory to forget.
Tyron Smith has been struggling on the right side of the line, but his week over week improvement is reason for optimism for the Dallas Cowboys.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys had effectively replaced Tyron with first round pick Tyler Smith. Tyler was supposed to start his career playing left guard, but Tyron’s preseason injury expedited Tyler’s transition to left tackle.
Tyler Smith had been up and down as a rookie. On one hand, he took over the most difficult job on the offensive line with very few preseason reps. On the other hand, he’s tied for the third-most penalties amongst offensive linemen (12) and has given up six sacks to boot.
On-the-job training comes at a cost and the Dallas Cowboys seem willing to endure it. That goes for both side of the offensive line since Tyron Smith is struggling in his on-the-job training on the right.
Rated by Pro Football Focus deep in the bottom half of the NFL, Tyron is logging his first season outside their top-20 since 2012 (his first season as a LT). PFF grades may not be the end all be all but they are fairly consistent with their linemen year over year so this current outlier grade is pretty telling.
Less than 12 months ago, Tyron was grading as the second best tackle in the NFL. Falling roughly 100 spots to play on the right is a significant falloff and something that needs to be addressed.
Mike McCarthy discussed Tyron’s play this season and explained why he’s struggled and why he’s getting better…
"“I thought he looked a lot more comfortable against Tennessee,” McCarthy said of Tyron Smith. “His grades sheet reflected that too. That’s why you go to training camp. That’s why padded practice is so important. It isn’t ‘Does Tyron Smith know how to play right tackle?’ Absolutely he does but he needs to work combination blocks, stunts, games and E-Ts and all those things. He’s getting his work in live action because of when he came back. So he’ll definitely benefit from a full seven day [practice].”"
Chances are Tyron Smith is the best LT on the team right now but he’s also the best RT. And since Tyron no longer figures into the future at LT, it makes sense to keep him where he’s at and let him develop. The Cowboys just need Tyler Biadasz to return so they can normalize the line.