The Cowboys have said before that they intend to rotate Doug Free and rookie Tyron Smith at left tackle, as they believe the rookie could eventually fill that premium spot on the offensive line.
With Free finally getting to participate in practice, though, it appears any flip-flopping between he and the first-round pick during practice would simply be an effort to get a look at the rookie on that side rather than a full-blown competition for the spot.
In his first practice back, Free took all the first-team reps on the left side, with Smith sliding to the right.
The Cowboys want to get as much practice time as possible with their starting front five for opening day. O-line coach Hudson Houck says Smith has a little way to go before he's ready to start in the NFL - very little way, actually.
"Till the first game," Houck said. "He'll be the starting right tackle, in my opinion."
Houck said Smith's athleticism will allow him to get away with typical rookie mistakes if he uses good technique and is competitive, especially with help from Montrae Holland, the veteran guard next to him.
"He's got great balance, great leg strength, great reach and good speed," Houck said. "The only thing that's missing is the knowledge of the offense right now, but he is a superior athlete."