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Will DE Aldon Smith Live Up to Training Camp Praise?

When the Dallas Cowboys kick it off against the Los Angeles Rams on September 13th, Defensive End Aldon Smith will be playing on an NFL field for the first time since 2015. The 30-year-old veteran has a lot to prove on his comeback to the league, both on and off the field. So far, a lot of early training camp praise has emerged around Smith.

While it’s still early, hearing a lot of positive quotes on the defensive end is reassuring for a Cowboys fanbase that is expecting big things from a defensive line that made some key acquisitions this offseason.

The thing about Aldon Smith is we know just how talented he is. Entering the league in 2011, Smith got off to a remarkable start. He sacked the quarterback a total of 42 times over his first three seasons in the league along with 74 QB hits. In that span, Smith forced six fumbles and racked up 42 tackles for loss. Not to mention, he missed five games in 2013.

If those numbers mean nothing to you, allow me to point out that 42 sacks in a player’s first three years in the NFL rank third in league history behind Reggie White and Derrick Thomas. Between 2011 and 2013, Aldon Smith was second in total sacks behind Minnesota Vikings’ Jared Allen and fourth in QB hits behind JJ Watt, Cameron Wake, and Allen. That’s elite company for a young player right there.

The point is Smith wasn’t just a “promising” young player with high expectations. He was one of the top defensive players in the league. He wasn’t the future, but the present. Unfortunately, off-the-field issues began to arise for Smith as he missed a season’s worth of games between 2014 and 2015 before disappearing for the next five years.

But now, he’s back. And he seems to really be back. “He looks to be ready to line up against the Rams,” said Jerry Jones on an interview on 105.3 The Fan.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy sounded excited when he talked about Smith and said “I would say that if you walked away from practice you would say ‘Hey, who the hell is No. 58?'” He praised his power and his length, “he’s impressive.”

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is also impressed with Smith’s work, even if he doesn’t enjoy facing him in practice. In his eyes, Aldon Smith isn’t a guy who’s been out of the picture since 2015. “Damn sure doesn’t look like he hasn’t played in five years,” Prescott told reporters earlier this week.

It’s hard to buy into offseason hype, but it’s also hard not to believe it when discussing a player as talented as Aldon Smith. When he returns to the playing field on Sundays, he doesn’t even have to be his former self in order to be a dominant starter. If he plays at 70% of his 2011-2013 self, the Cowboys will have a strong player at the defensive end position.

“The way Mike has it drawn up, I’m going to be in situations where I can use my skillset and be able to make plays. I’m just looking forward to being able to put it all on film against people,” said Smith to reporters on Thursday.

In approximately 20 days, Aldon Smith will be able to put it on film against the Los Angeles Rams.

Tell me what you think about “Will DE Aldon Smith Live Up to Training Camp Praise?” in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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!

What do you think?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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  1. Hope this guy plays far beyond everyone’s expectations! Hope he realizes how blessed he is to live in America and have the opportunity to get a second chance to be successful in the NFL!

  2. Would love to see him, Griffin, Poe, and Tank out there on the reg. On passing downs if our DC can come up with a scheme that could fit them .

  3. Might depend on just how big Griffen plays. If Griffen becomes a beast, Smith’s rotations could be limited … at least as RDE. I know some of these guys can move around and play some DT, but DE is where they’ll make their impact. But an Aldon Smith who shows promise and doesn’t get huge numbers in that scenario, might just be easier to sign long-term, so it could be the perfect scenario.

  4. Have to admit my disappointment at having lost McCoy, has been softened by the positive reports I’m hearing regarding A Smith. Yea I know it’s just training camp, but damn just thinking of the havoc the trio of Lawrence/Griffen/Smith can create. Then if we get Gregory back. Agree those three are DEs not DTs don’t wanna see them manhandled by 320 pound guards. I like Poe/Woods/Crawford trio at DT. Hill and Gallimore strike me as more in the McCoy mode, quick penetrating tackles. Still think we might need another run stuffing DT. Any word on D Harrison possible signing?

    • I believe he’s still available. But is he some one you want to pay to play next to Poe, or to back up Poe? If Poe and Snacks play side by side it’s a great run defense, but no pass rusher from the middle. That’s the best thing the McCoy/Poe paring has going for it … the ability to play run and pass, and reduce audibles being called.

  5. I think no matter who we play along side Poe, something will be compromised. As u said that’s what made McCoy great fit. Crawford is good vs run but somewhat lacking in pass rush. Hill/Gallimore are more the athletic albeit inexperienced gap penetrators types who could evolve into something more, but aren’t there yet. What if Poe goes down? Still think we could use another run stuffer, but would Harrison wanna be a back up? Maybe they could rotate, but would still be nice insurance, what with Poe health concerns. Think Crawford is best bet, at least initially.

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