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Tyron Smith’s Future Health Creates Red Flags Along Cowboys OL

Brian Martin

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Life without your starting left tackle isn't something an NFL team wants to go through at any point in the season. The Dallas Cowboys know this all too well after having to play the last two games without their All-Pro LT Tyron Smith.

The left tackle is arguably the most important position for any team, with the exception of quarterback. The LT is responsible for protecting the blindside of the QB and keeping them upright and healthy. That is why they are drafted so highly and are some of the top paid players in the league.

The Dallas Cowboys of course have arguably the best blindside protector in the NFL, which makes replacing him even that much more difficult. Tyron Smith has had to miss the last two games due to injuries and it is increasingly obvious just how important he is to have in the lineup.

Despite having two other All-Pro offensive lineman, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line really struggled against the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles without Tyron Smith in the lineup. They couldn't get the running game going in either contest and Dak Prescott was forced to run for his life.

QB Dak PrescottNow, Tyron Smith will recover from the soft-tissue problems he's been having these last few weeks, but prior to these issues he was fighting through back problem that caused him to miss practice time this season. This is the same back issue he had last season causing him to miss games, which puts his future health in question and raises a few red flags for the entire Cowboys offensive line.

How many players around the NFL have we seen forced into early retirement because of their back problems. Tony Romo is the latest Cowboys player, but if Tyron Smith can't find a solution to his reoccurring back problems, he could join his former QB.

This is something that the Dallas Cowboys staff really should be concerned about. This team doesn't have someone who can step in for Tyron Smith and it's never been as obvious as it is now based on the last two games.

Unfortunately, starting caliber left tackles don't grow on trees. They are extremely difficult to to find, which is why they are drafted so highly and paid so extravagantly. That is why I believe the best solution is to go ahead and draft a starting caliber tackle capable playing on the either side, much like Tyron Smith did early in his career.

LT Tyron SmithYou see, drafting another tackle could solve all the problems with the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. The weak link on the Cowboys OL right now is the left guard position, but I think that gets solved by drafting a versatile tackle as well.

The first thing I would do is kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard. I think this is his best position, even though he has performed really well at right tackle this year. I would then insert the newly versatile tackle on the right side. This solidifies and upgrades the entire OL for the Cowboys.

Of course, having another versatile tackle capable of playing on either side provides insurance in case Tyron Smith continues to have reoccurring injuries. The Cowboys could always move the new rookie to the left side and Collins back to RT.

I understand that is a lot of shuffling, but with so many versatile linemen at the Cowboys disposal, they are more than capable of making these kind of moves. It's not the ideal way to handle things, but it's better than the options the Cowboys currently have.

Do you think Tyron Smith's future health is a concern?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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16 Comments
  • Bill_In_NC

    I haven’t heard anything about what the problem actually is with Tyron’s back. It’s hard to imagine that off season surgery (like Demarcus Lawrence) would not be an option. I don’t know of too many back issues that just ‘get better’ on their own.

    • Brian Martin

      I’m not sure exactly what the problem is either. But one thing is for sure, the need to try some way to get it fixed.

  • Albert Smith

    Off-season surgery should’ve been done a couple of years ago therapy isn’t working, get it taken care of so that it’s no longer an issue.

    • Brian Martin

      It depends on what the actual problem is. Surgery could make it worse and it could just be a tolerance thing. I don’t know for sure, but something likely needs to be done.

      • Albert Smith

        He either has lumbar a strain or a lumbar spine arthritis which are the main contributors for back stiffness. That’s been the issue he’s been dealing with, so it would be a lot better to really be shut down for an elongated period of time meaning more than a couple of weeks or every Wednesday that doesn’t seem to be working and considering how things are looking you might want to bring up Kellen Moore up and shut down your key guys have a another good draft and move forward from there.

        • Brian Martin

          I don’t see the Cowboys throwing in the towel and sitting there starters. I think they will continue to fight, even if there is an much hope of reaching the playoffs.

      • Brady101

        I understand it’s a severe pinched nerve which runs that numbs his foot and toes..

        • Brian Martin

          There are a lot of conflicting reports about Smith’s injury. I honestly don’t know what the truth is. Hopefully it’s just a matter of rest and he can get back to 100%

  • Randy Martin

    While I have been doing mocks drafts for a month or more I don’t know how many “can’t miss” LT’s there are in this draft. The two biggest names Connor Williams, Texas and Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame seem to be the most highly touted but as you know, LT is a building block, and depending on draft position, they could be gone. I think we have two other pressing needs in LB and WR so I think our 1st rounder needs to be spent on one of those positions. Of course, it kind of depends on what we do with Lawrence and Irving. It’s a good thing we have 11 draft picks as we need as many chances as possible to plug the dam!

    • Brian Martin

      You’re right that LB and WR are probably higher priorities. But, I think LG and possibly T aren’t far behind. The tackle position is only a concern if Smith’s back issues are cleared up. I’m really starting to look forward to the draft already. I think I enjoy that more than the actual season LOL

    • Albert Smith

      The tackle class is much more thinner than last years draft class, more depth at guard.

      • Brian Martin

        That’s what I’m hearing. I haven’t started studying players yet for next year’s draft.

  • TreFKennedy88

    Tyron’s back has been an issue since 2015-16 season, it should have been taken care of at that time

    • Brian Martin

      If the Cowboys end up being out of the playoff race, I would shut down Tyron Smith. He’s too valuable to the team and needs to get healthy.

  • Russ_Te

    Smith may have some good years left, but even if so Dallas has no solution behind him for OT, and that one fact has blown this season up. So, yep it’s probably top draft priority > OT, RDE, WR / best available 1st round.

    Keep in mind that finding a quality LG is do-able / both Nate Newton and Ronald Leary were UFA walk-ons. So I keep trying there before moving Collins back to LG. Unless I hit on a project OT first.

    Now Then: Let’s look at whether it was a deft f’ing idea to play Green and then Bell at LT when Smith went out. Offensive coaches know those guys do not have lateral OT movement, sufficient to guard Dak’s blind side. Other moves? I’m flipping Collins over there first and Green or Bell to the less risk-prone RT spot.

    Pretty sure Zack Martin can play OT also. I probably also would have done that and put Green in his spot, as a stopgap until Smith gets back.

    Thanks Garrett, for making no adjustments when your team needs them. Butler, Gathers, Switzer – same thing. No new options in the route trees, when your starters are not getting open and Dak is getting killed. It’s rather clear now that defenses have solved the present passing-game model. They are have no problem stopping it. You have to change some of it out.

    • Brian Martin

      I’m only moving Collins if the Cowboys draft a tackle who can start right away. Otherwise, I’m keeping him at RT. I don’t think Collins would fare any better on the left side unfortunately.

Dallas Cowboys

Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN

John Williams

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A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs 2
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has long been considered "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," and for a long time that title was justified. If you wanted your national sports news, where did you turn to but the cable sports channel to watch that day's episode of SportsCenter. But over the last few years, it's become more and more clear that it's "The Worldwide Leader" in name only.

The ratings are dropping and the network has had to make a lot of business decisions as it relates to much of their on-air talent over the last several years. With their latest under 25 starting 22 -- ahem, troll job -- they seem to have finally come to terms that they are basically First Take. 

Noah Brown put it best in his reaction to the ESPN "Insider" voting that led to Saquon Barkley being named to the starting 22 ahead of Ezekiel Elliott. Brown, Elliott's teammate when both were at Ohio State University, came to his defense upon seeing the list.

https://twitter.com/Nb_Eight5/status/1018940752787894277

And here is the ESPN list:

SportsCenter on Twitter

43 of our NFL Insiders voted. Here's their best starting roster under the age of 25.

I'm sure there could be debates about different positions on the squad. Personally, quarterback is one where an argument could be made for Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott over DeShaun Watson, but that's for another time.

But to have a rookie, who has never played a down in the NFL ahead of the NFL's league leader in rushing for 2016, Ezekiel Elliott, is laughable.

Ridiculous.

Shameful even.

The fact that they had 43, again I use the quotations, "Insiders" vote on this and Ezekiel Elliott wasn't listed as one of the two running backs just shows you how far they've come as a network.

Let's remember that Ezekiel Elliott has averaged a touchdown a game -- receiving and rushing -- in his 25-game career. No running back has more rushing yards than Elliott does over the last two years, including 2017 league rushing leader, Todd Gurley. No running back has more rushing touchdowns than Elliott's 22 rushing TDs.

Ezekiel Elliott's yards per carry is a healthy 4.63. Todd Gurley sits at 3.93. No player with more than 1,800 rushing yards over the last two years has a better yards per attempt than Ezekiel Elliott.

I get that you'd vote Todd Gurley in there, but to not have Ezekiel Elliott, arguably the game's best running back on your Under 25 starting 22 just makes you look like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. Not a sports journalism entity worthy of people throwing money at for "Insider" access.

I won't say that I never or will never watch ESPN, because where else am I gonna go for Monday Night Football, Todd Archer, or the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships? When I'm at my father-in-law's, I'll watch SportsCenter first thing in the morning, because it will be on and you don't change another man's television.

"The Worldwide Leader," however, loses credibility when they promote a list like this that has such a glaring omission.

Perhaps, maybe the goal wasn't to put out an accurate list. Maybe the goal was to get us talking about their list, just like when NFL Network releases their Top 100 players list. Like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

This troll job from ESPN has certainly gotten them some publicity, or should I say, notoriety.



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Player News

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Elliott Should Be Keeping Close Tabs on Le'Veon's Situation
AP Photo / Don Wright

The deadline for reaching an agreement with franchise tagged players came to an end last Monday, in what turned out to be a pretty uneventful day all around the league. No agreement was reached by any of the teams with their respective players, including the Dallas Cowboys and their promising "War Daddy," DeMarcus Lawrence.

But the Cowboys' front office have something to learn in this process that doesn't involve a player of their own. Something that both the front office and Ezekiel Elliott should be keeping a close eye on.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also failed to secure their franchise tagged player: Running Back Le'Veon Bell. Really, no one expected a deal to be reached among the two parties. The 26-year old football super star is asking for too much money, which has led to the Steelers tagging him twice in consecutive years.

Bell, conscious of his abilities on the field, is asking for a lot of money from his football team. In 2018, he's set to earn over $14.5M under the tag. That's more than twice the money that Devonta Freeman averages per year - 8.25 million - who's next on the list of highest paid running backs in the league and the highest paid on a long-term contract.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Just to clarify: Steelers' offer to Le'Veon Bell last year averaged $13.3 million per year. Steelers' offer to him this year averaged $15 million per year. But Bell does not believe he should be paid as a RB; he believes he should be paid as an elite offensive weapon.

Le'Veon, whose agent has said 2018 will likely be his last season playing as a Steeler, was reportedly offered $15M per year but that wasn't enough for him. Bell wants to get paid as an elite offensive weapon, which he is. But it turns out he's also... a running back.

It's a complicated situation and one that, if it turns out well for him in free agency next year, could revolutionize the entire running back market in the NFL. If it doesn't, he might end up regretting passing on the Steelers' offer for he won't easily find that kind of money with a team that seems to be a Super Bowl contender on a yearly basis.

The Dallas Cowboys' priorities will rely on other players during the next couple of years, but that shouldn't keep them from keeping close tabs on these events since they could be dealing with a similar scenario when Ezekiel Elliott's turn for a new deal comes around.

Jerry Jones, Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, RB Ezekiel Elliott (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

Fairly assuming that the fifth year option on Zeke's contract will be picked up after the 2018 season, locking him up through 2020, it's a problem that will be down the road for the Cowboys. But it will have to be dealt with at some point.

When his time is up, Elliott should undoubtedly be looking to become the highest-paid in the game, but the amount of money he gets will depend on the outcome of this whole Le'Veon-Steelers thing. David Johnson and Todd Gurley will also play an important role in determining the future of the running back market.

While Elliott hasn't been used as a receiving threat during his first two seasons in the league, he's still an elite offensive weapon for the Cowboys. The team's offense is based around Zeke and the running game, so it will make sense if his demands are somewhat similar from those by Bell.

Elliott might even be franchise tagged once or twice by the Cowboys if things get complicated in the future. Unlike DeMarco Murray in 2014, surely they won't be willing to let him walk in free agency once his contract comes to an end.

For now, it won't be just the Cowboys who will be keeping close tabs on this situation, but also Ezekiel Elliott and his agent. Hopefully, both parties will manage to handle things better than what we're seeing right now in Pittsburgh.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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