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Tyron Smith’s Health Could Determine Cowboys Postseason Success

Brian Martin

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Tyron Smith
Louis DeLuca / The Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Cowboys have been pretty fortunate to avoid major injuries to their key players this season, which is a big reason why they could possibly tie their season win record tonight against the Detroit Lions with their 13th victory.

Now, the Cowboys don’t really have anything to play for since they have already clinched the division and the #1 playoff seed. So, people have already begun to speculate whether or not the Cowboys should rest some of their starters to make sure they are available in the postseason.

Of course, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have both gone on record stating that they plan on having all hands on deck the final two games of the regular season and don’t plan on giving any of their starters a game off. But, is that really the smart thing to do, especially regarding arguably the most important player for the teams success from here on out, Tyron Smith?

Yes, I believe Tyron Smith is probably the most important player on the entire Cowboys roster. I mean, if he goes down with an injury, who are you going to insert into the lineup to replace him?

Tyron Smith has been battling with nagging injuries the majority of the season, but this past week he missed nearly every practice so that he could hopefully be available to suit up tonight against the Detroit Lions.

Tyron SmithIt’s no secret that Smith is one of the, if not the best left tackles in the entire NFL. He is responsible for protecting Dak Prescott‘s backside and is a major reason why Ezekiel Elliott is leading the league in rushing.

I really can’t express enough the importance of having Tyron Smith in the lineup and how much he impacts what the Dallas Cowboys do offensively.

If it was up to me, I would sit Smith these final two games and let him have the time off to recuperate from some of these nagging injuries that have plagued him nearly the entire season. That would have given him approximately three whole weeks to recover before the Cowboys take the field for their first playoff game.

Unfortunately, that’s really not an option due to the fact the Cowboys don’t have the depth at the position to have an adequate fill in.

Depth at the tackle position first became a problem when last seasons swing tackle, Charles Brown, decided to unexpectedly retire. Brown and Chaz Green were expected to compete to see who became the swing tackle in 2016, but with Brown’s retirement, it was a position battle that never happened.

I was really surprised that the Cowboys didn’t bring anybody in to compete with Green, but thankfully when he had to fill in a couple of games for Tyron Smith earlier in the season, he performed better than anyone could have possibly expected.

Chaz GreenBut to complicate matters even further, Chaz Green unfortunately battled with nagging injuries as well, which ultimately landed him on injured reserve for the second season in a row.

The Dallas Cowboys are now left with Emmett Cleary as the only option to replace either Tyron Smith or Doug Free if something were to happen to either player.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would feel very comfortable with Cleary as a bookend on either side protecting the quarterback. That’s not a knock against Cleary, just an observation that it would be a huge downgrade talent wise.

The Cowboys could possibly reshuffle the entire offensive line to get the best five players on the field, but then you’re messing with the continuity and familiarity that has made this unit the best in the NFL.

So, if you’re anything like me, then you are going to be keeping a close watchful eye on #77 tonight against the Detroit Lions to make sure he’s not putting himself at risk to further injury.

I just don’t think the Cowboys can survive if anything were to happen to Tyron Smith. To me, he is the most important player on the roster and his performance from here on out will ultimately determine the success the Dallas Cowboys have in the postseason.

Do you agree or disagree?

Please for free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

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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.

Game Notes

DAL 20, OAK 17: Cowboys and Playoff Hopes Survive Wild Game

Jess Haynie

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Jason Witten, Dak Prescott

On a night when almost everything seemed to bounce the Raiders’ way, the final crucial play went in Dallas’ favor. That proved to be all the difference, allowing the Cowboys to improve to 8-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive in a pivotal road game in Oakland.

After a 55-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Jourdan Lewis moved Oakland 15 yards from the endzone, Oakland had a few shots at a game-winning touchdown before they’d attempt a tying field goal. On 3rd-and-3, Derek Carr scrambled and went for the score. He dived along the sideline and stretched the ball out toward the pylon, only to lose control. The ball left his hands, crossed the goal line, and went out the side of the endzone.

Cowboys ball. Cowboys wins.

That fumble was Oakland’s fourth of the night. Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled on two of his kick returns but both times the ball rolled out of bounds. Michael Crabtree also fumbled after a catch, but Dallas failed to recover it before the receiver could get back on top of the ball.

Both teams were playing for their playoff lives. When the game was tied 10-10 in the 3rd quarter, Dallas faked a punt from their own 24-yard-line as Chris Jones kept the ball and ran 24 yards. The very next play, the Cowboys attempted a flea-flicker to Terrance Williams that was incomplete. It was perhaps the most aggressive series of calls we’ve seen from Dallas all year.

It was a tough, ugly game. There were 21 total penalties, 14 of which surprisingly belonged to the Raiders. Oakland’s offense executed more consistently while the Cowboys still made crucial stops when needed.

In the end, Dallas survived and advanced in their efforts to sneak back into the NFC playoffs.

Other Notes

  • Dak Prescott had a rough night with two interceptions and no passing touchdowns. One of those picks was due to contact on the throw, but he also missed some opportunities with errant throws and bad reads. He did run one in, though, and had 32 rushing yards total for the game.
  • Alfred Morris and Rod Smith combined for a woeful 74 yards on 23 carries. After a few weeks of big production, this was a good reminder of why we’re so happy to have Ezekiel Elliott returning next week.
  • While Dallas was unable to sack Derek Carr tonight, they applied a lot of pressure and forced several bad throws. Carr only completed 55% of his passes thanks to consistent heat from DeMarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, and even Taco Charlton on a few plays.
  • It was another solid night from the Cowboys’ young cornerbacks. Despite the big penalty on Oakland’s final drive, Lewis had a solid night all around along with Chidobe Awuzie. Anthony Brown also showed up, having a few nice deflections in crunch time.
  • The Cowboys will head back to Dallas to reunite to with Ezekiel Elliott and prepare a welcoming party for the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday. Seattle was humiliated at home today, losing 42-7 to the visiting Rams. With the Cowboys and Seahawks now tied at 8-6, Dallas can bury them next week with a victory.

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Game Notes

Cowboys and Raiders Offer Many Parallels

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott, Derek Carr

For only the 12th time since their first meeting in 1974, the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders will face off tonight in what will likely be a season-ending game for the loser. Two of the NFL’s premiere franchises, the Cowboys and Raiders have lived almost entirely separate lives throughout their history. Despite that, the two organizations in many ways seem like mirror images of each other.

The Raiders are up by one game, 6-5, in the previous 11 games between Dallas and Oakland. The Cowboys have won the last two matchups, both of which were in Dallas. This will be the first they’ve played in the Raiders’ stadium since 2005.

Oakland is one of only a few NFL franchises the Cowboys have a losing record against. Dallas is .500 or better against 26 the 31 other teams in the league. The only other franchises with winning records against the Cowboys are the Baltimore Ravens (4-1), Cleveland Browns (17-14). Denver Broncos (8-5), and the Green Bay Packers (19-17).

Throughout NFL history, perhaps now two owners have challenged the establishment more than the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and the late Al Davis of the Raiders. Davis sued the NFL in 1980 when his efforts to most the team to Los Angeles were blocked. This year, Jerry Jones threatened litigation against the league for how the commissioner’s contract negotiations were being handled.

in 2017, the Cowboys and Raiders were both Super Bowl contenders who have had disappointing the seasons. They go into this week at 7-6 and 6-7 respectively, nearly even, and with similarly slim hopes of still making the playoffs. Both may be still be able to sneak in if they keep winning, but help from other teams is also needed.

Even their quarterbacks can be compared. Dak Prescott and Derek Carr are two of the top young stars at QB in the game but have had adversity this year.  Carr has been trying to bounce back from a major leg injury last year that cut short his breakout season. Prescott, a rookie sensation in 2016, has had to fight the sophomore slump while also dealing with the loss of offensive MVP Ezekiel Elliott.

If that wasn’t enough, both their first names start with a “D” and end with a “K.” Mind-blowing stuff, huh?

All kidding aside, both Dallas and Oakland entered 2017 with championship goals and have had tough blows along the way. Both will be without key players tonight; Dallas still missing Elliott while the Raiders won’t have franchise receiver Amari Cooper. These personnel issues have plagued their seasons and left both on the brink of playoff elimination.

Who stays alive tonight? For two teams that only see each other every four years, this reunion is of incredible importance to both their immediate futures.

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Game Notes

Cowboys, Raiders Week 15 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

Tonight’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders features two teams still hanging on to slim playoff hopes. Both will have to try to keep their seasons alive without some key players, according the final injury report for Week 15.

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Brice Butler (foot) – OUT
  • TE James Hanna (knee) – Questionable
  • OT Tyron Smith (back) – Questionable
  • OT La’el Collins (back) – Questionable
  • DL David Irving (concussion) – OUT
  • DT Maliek Collins (foot) – Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring/back) – Questionable
  • LB Justin Durant (concussion) – OUT
  • CB Orlando Scandrick (back) – OUT

Don’t be worried by any of the key “questionable” players. They’re all dealing with nagging injuries and will likely be on the injury report the rest of the year. There is no indication that Sean Lee, Maliek Collins, or either of the starting offensive tackles will miss the game.

Brice Butler will miss his return game against his former team, which is more sad for him than any real issue for the Cowboys. Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown could see some more usage on offensive as a result.

Missing David Irving will hurt as Dallas needs to get pressure on Derek Carr. Coupled with Orlando Scandrick’s absence, the Raiders could be dangerous with their passing game. Thankfully, some of this is offset by their star receiving also missing the game.

Oakland Raiders

  • WR Amari Cooper (ankle) – OUT
  • TE Clive Walford (concussion/neck) – OUT
  • C/G Jon Feliciano (concussion) – Questionable
  • DL Mario Edwards Jr (ankle) – OUT
  • DL Denico Autry (hand/ankle) – Questionable
  • CB David Amerson (foot) – Questionable
  • S Ofi Melifonwu (hip) – OUT
  • DB Keith McGill (knee) – Questionable

The big news here is obviously Cooper being out. Michael Crabtree can still ball but Cooper is one of the top receivers in the game. Dallas’ young corners can breathe easier now.

The big injury on defense is Edwards, the son of the former Cowboys cornerback. He’s started all 13 games this year for Oakland. They also could be without starting corner David Amerson due to a foot injury. That could help Dak Prescott to keep the momentum going from his statistical breakthrough last week.

The rest of the players on the Raiders’ report are all backups.

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