Huge injury news sets stage for Cowboys to end losing streak vs Lions

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys
Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys severely missed Tyron Smith against the Miami Dolphins. Backup left tackle Chuma Edoga allowed five pressures and his inability to stabilize the left side of the line had a crippling effect on Dak Prescott and the offense as a whole.

The fact Prescott overcame that and had the Cowboys positioned to win the game speaks to his ability to carry a team, but it goes without saying that Dallas needs Smith protecting Prescott's blindside if they're to make a deep playoff run.

Simply put, Prescott didn't have a chance on some of his dropbacks. Some of that was due to Terence Steele not holding up his end of the bargain at right tackle, but Edoga flat out whiffed on a number of his pass-blocking reps.

That includes a snap where Edoga lost his bearings and left Bradley Chubb unblocked for a free run at Prescott. Edoga abandoned Chubb to help thwart a Dolphins blitz, but Tyler Smith picked it up, leaving Dallas with four linemen to block two rushers and nobody accounting for Chubb.

Every Cowboys fan is hoping that was the last they've seen of Edoga at left tackle. While the jury is still out on that, Smith participated in Thursday's walkthrough and Mike McCarthy "feels good" about his availability for Saturday.

Cowboys could get LT Tyron Smith back for Lions matchup

This is huge news for the Cowboys. Prescott essentially played so well against the Dolphins that he covered for some of Edoga's mistakes. On some plays, though, Edoga's errors were so glaring that Prescott couldn't do anything but scramble and live to fight another down (or series) by throwing the ball away.

The Cowboys have exercised caution with Smith all year. They've limited his reps in practice during the week to keep him fresh for game day and their decision to leave him back in Dallas for the trip to Miami to rest his back seems to have worked.

When healthy, Smith has arguably been the NFL's best left tackle this season. His 89.6 pass-block grade ranks first among tackles who've played at least 300 snaps and he's allowed the fourth-fewest pressures among tackles who've played at least 11 games, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

While the Lions have a stiff run defense, their secondary is extremely vulnerable against the pass. They've allowed the 10th-most passing yards, eighth-most passing touchdowns, sixth-most first downs and seventh-most net yards gained per pass attempt. So long as Prescott has enough time to go through his reads, the Cowboys offense should put up enough points to win.

There's a better chance of that happening if Smith's play, and McCarthy's vote of confidence indicates the star LT will be out there.

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