Tyron Smith has been one of the best left tackles in the NFL over the last decade. However, there's been an underlining issue the former first-round pick has dealt with recently, staying healthy. After only missing one start in his first five seasons he's been absent for 26 games since the start of the 2016 season (missed 14 games in 2020).
Smith reportedly got into the best shape of his life during the offseason and even ditched the neck roll he's worn for years to protect his neck. His first test of the 2021 season wouldn't be easy going against fierce Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rush but Smith excelled. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith didn't allow any pressures in 62 pass-blocking snaps.
Tyron Smith pass-blocking in Bucs vs Cowboys:
🔹 62 pass-blocking snaps
🔹 0 pressures allowed pic.twitter.com/dcb3kXodYo
— PFF (@PFF) September 10, 2021
The only blemish on Smith's performance was a holding call on the Cowboy's final drive. Other than that he was dominant like he usually is. As the protector of Dak Prescott's blind side, Smith has as important of a job as anyone on the Cowboys offensive line. The Buccaneers threw multiple players at him like Jason Pierre-Paul and even Vita Vea but Smith used his amazing technique and abnormally strong hands to consistently win reps.
It's never been a question of skill with Smith it's just been a struggle to keep him healthy. His performance against the Buccaneers would've been impressive no matter the circumstances. However, when factoring in his assignment and how it was his first game in nearly a year it deserves even more praise.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 11, 2021
And Tyron Smith didn’t even flinch. 😂 https://t.co/TsudeAd6BW
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 10, 2021
Complacency isn't something that Smith allows to take place when it comes to his career. Even with seven Pro Bowl nods, four All-Pro honors, and being selected to the 2010s All-Decade Team, Smith enters every season with the mentality that his game isn't a finished product.
“For me – I always say this every year, but it’s true. I’m still not at the point where I want to be,” Smtih said back in June. “Every year it’s like I’m still trying to prove to everybody that I can still play and still be the best at my job. For me, it’s always that mindset. There’s always something to prove.”
Smith mentioned recently that his goal is to play in all 17 games. If that happens, right defensive ends around the NFL are going to have a rough go of it trying to get past the cyborg that he is when they face the Cowboys.