As talented as Tyron Smith has shown to be, we can't assume that this transition to left tackle is going to be as easy as everyone thinks. This time last season there were so many questions about Smith and could he handle the job at right tackle as a rookie. If you asked me, I would have told you that there were going to be some issues that he would have to work through but not to worry at all. On tape at USC, Smith was the real deal and it was just going to be a matter of time before he would adjust and be okay. To Smith's credit, he was the best offensive lineman on the squad last season and he did it through hard work on his technique but also with a great deal of God given talent.
There have been times where Smith has been outstanding in the way he has made the switch these last three weeks but there have also been moments where he has not been as sharp as he has needed to be. Playing the position of left tackle, there are different views you have of the rusher, there are different steps that you take getting away from the line of scrimmage and how your feet and hands work together to control the rusher is totally different. In training camp of 2011, the one thing that former offensive line coach Hudson Houck had Smith do was work on getting away from the line quicker but do it with the proper footwork as well. Some 20-30 minutes after practice, Houck would drill Smith until he was perfect and it showed up in his game.
Today was as bad technique wise that I had seen from Smith since those days in San Antonio. When Smith is at his best, his kick-slide away from the line is outstanding and it puts himself in position to successfully make his block. In the two-minute period, Smith was beaten badly around the corner by Victor Butler then later by DeMarcus Ware. On the Butler rush, Smith was poor off the snap, and Butler was able to keep his body low to the ground giving no hitting surface, running his shoulder past Smith who was reaching for him. On the Ware rush, Smith never got out of his stance to get a hand on Ware who exploded around the corner. Smith was just not quick enough to stop the charge of Ware to Romo.
After practice today, it did not surprise me one bit to see Tyron Smith and offensive line coach Bill Callahan working on his technique. For such a young man, Smith gets it. He knows there is plenty work ahead of trying to master his techniques to play at left tackle. His vision, feet and punch are all different from what he did for 16 weeks last season on that right side. Smith knows that he has to get quicker to get his hands on rushers like Ware, Orakpo, Cole, Pierre-Paul and Peppers. There is no doubt the talent is there and the desire to get better is there but let's remember, there is going to be an adjustment period for both he and Doug Free because there is nothing easy about playing tackle in this league despite how Tyron Smith made it look last season.