Once an historic strength of their impressive roster, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line hasn’t been what it used to be for several seasons now. Travis Frederick’s retirement went a long way towards depleting the unit, but LT Tyron Smith’s lingering injury issues have further altered the team’s complexion.
It started with a few little dings; multiple injuries that stole three games in 2017, followed by another three games missed the next season. In 2020, Smith began to further break down, losing three months of the campaign to a neck issue. His ankle gave out last season, removing most of the second half.
Now comes Smith’s biggest challenge yet, one that could derail the 2022 Cowboys season before it even begins.
With La’el Collins in Cincinnati and rookie Tyler Smith in need of a veteran mentor as he joins an OL in flux, Smith suffered a devastating injury at practice Wednesday night.
Initially, pending an MRI, it seemed as if Smith may have avoided disaster, limping away after the brutal video footage showed him writhing on the turf. Unfortunately, the injury was as bad as it looked, and Smith will be out until December (at the very earliest) as fans await word on surgical possibilities.
Cowboys LT Tyron Smith suffers avulsion fracture, out until December
The Cowboys already had an offensive line depth issue prior to Smith’s injury. Without a trustworthy swing tackle on the roster beyond the unproven Josh Ball, Dallas seemed prepared to enter the season relying a bit too heavily on their five-man starting unit.
Without Smith, they’ll now have to elevate Ball into a starting role, or take drastic action.
The Cowboys’ approach to positions of need — either premium spots like LT or forgotten essentials like kicker — has been to collect limited options and suffer greatly when the first line of defense hits the skids.
Smith’s career may be in flux after this latest update; at the age of 31, this could be particularly difficult to fight back from. In both the short- and long-term, though, the Cowboys have been left bare by another brutal blow.