Tyron Smith now has a timeline for potential return to the field and it times up perfectly with a critical portion of the season, but what will the OL rotation be?
FRISCO, Texas — The time is nearing for the return of Tyron Smith, and it appears he might be back on the field for the Dallas Cowboys sooner than many anticipated. When the eight-time Pro Bowler went down in practice ahead of the 2022 season with a major leg/knee injury, the team was adamant his season wasn't over and that he'd be back in uniform for a potential playoff run.
Specifically, Smith' hamstring tendon detached from the bone in/near his knee.
He's been rehabbing vehemently but with the appropriate amount of caution under the watchful eye of renowned trainer Britt Brown, and the Cowboys front office has finally given a timeline on when the four-time All-Pro could make his 2022 debut.
"You know, because he's three or four weeks out, we haven't had that discussion," Executive Vice President and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones told 105.3FM the Fan on Monday.
When that time does arrive, what will be the offensive line rotation for Dallas?
After all, rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith has been playing well beyond his years at left tackle - despite having not taken any reps at the position in training camp - and Connor McGovern has leveled up his play in his first year as full-time starter at left guard.
"We've been so focused week to week and game to game - getting these guys better as a unit," Jones added. "As that time nears, I'm sure coach [Mike McCarthy] and Kellen [Moore], [offensive line coach] Joe Philbin and that group will have some discussions about what gives us the best chance to win when Tyron gets back."
That said, Jones did drop a rather sizable hint that you likely won't see the elder Smith playing swing tackle - given his resumé when healthy.
"He's an All-Pro, Hall of Fame type player and if you're going to have your best five guys out there, I'm sure he's one of them," said Jones.
That leaves the door open for the younger Smith to be moved back inside to left guard, where he spent the entirety of training camp this past July, to create a Smith Bros. tandem to the left of center Tyler Biadasz.
It remains to be seen, however, considering how firm McCarthy was in training camp in naming McGovern the starter at LG over Tyler Smith and, again, the former hasn't played poorly through the first eight games that have now seen the Cowboys earn a 6-2 record going into their Week 9 bye.
Of course, that was then, and this is now.
It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but one thing is soon to be certain: even with the loss of Matt Farniok and Matt Waletzko to injured reserve in the span of only two weeks, the Cowboys might end up having an envious amount of offensive line depth by the time December rolls around - right in time for the most critical part of the season.