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    Are Cowboys Rushing Jaylon Smith to Replace Anthony Hitchens?

    With linebacker Anthony Hitchens likely to miss half the season after a knee fracture, the Cowboys are working on solutions. Yesterday, our Sean Martin looked at the increased role veteran Justin Durant should be getting. However, it also appears that young Jaylon Smith will be impacted by Hitchens' absence.

    Consider the following reports that came out of the Cowboys' Tuesday practices:

    We are all understandably excited at the idea of Jaylon Smith, who we've waited for for over a year, to have a big role in the 2017 defense. Hopefully these developments are based on natural progression and have nothing to do with the increased need, and perhaps a little desperation, following Anthony Hitchens' .

    Consider the following comment from Stephen Jones today, when asked if Jaylon could be starting now with Hitchens out:

    “It could be, but it definitely will cause him to have an accelerated approach to how this year starts for him. So, yes I think it’s going to be more activity, more snaps for him right off the bat.”

    The phrase that gives me pause there is “accelerated approach.” It would be easy for the team, and for Jaylon himself, to start pushing the envelope on his recovery given recent developments. Hitchens being out compounds with the possibility that will be suspended at some point for his assault in July. Plans to ease Smith back into football may be getting altered for the wrong reasons.

    The only reason Jaylon should be getting more work is because his body is ready for it. An eager player may not be the best judge, nor coaches who are anxious to win. Hopefully, medical professionals and trainers are acting as everyone's conscience in this and keeping Jaylon on the best path for his long-term future, with absolutely zero consideration for present needs and concerns.

    Jaylon Smith could be the best defensive player on our team for the next ten years, every step along the way needs to be with that goal in mind. We've seen players rushed back in the NFL and some disastrous results from that decision. The Cowboys need to avoid that all costs, even if one of them is having to plays guys like , , and more early in the season.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    2 COMMENTS

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    Travis Diggs

    So for a team trying to figure out how many WR’s and DB’s to keep Its makes you wonder If they would be silly enough to waist a spot on Moore and let somebody young go like Noah Brown or Marquez White. Scott Linehan has been his ONLY supporter. The staff needs to get out of their feelings and do the right thing for the sake of the rest of the roster

    Russ_Te

    You’d like to believe Garrett and Marinelli will adhere to that rule of “only when he’s ready”. There may also be concern that Smith – eager to pitch in – will push himself too hard and not let on if there is knee pain or something like that.

    I agree – get by on the LB’s available, change nothing for Smith’s ramp up. You never know who else may emerge & play better than expected.

    Besides – here’s a nice thought – this defense stands ready to be torched entering this season. It doesn’t have a dominant pass rusher (as of yet), guys are suspended, and rookies who never played in pre-season have to contribute in the secondary.

    How much can Smith alone, reverse that right now?

    My remedy for it early-season is run the ball as much as possible, use the WR talent in attack sets, and try to score 30+