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Offseason | 2023

Tyler Smith Plans to be "Comfortable at Both Spots" 


FRISCO, Texas – Left side.

That's where Mike McCarthy said Tyler Smith would play when the Cowboys drafted him back in April of 2022.

Here we are, 15 months later and just four weeks away from the start of training camp, and that's exactly where Smith sees himself lining up this season.

Left tackle? The spot he played for the majority of last season, starting 16 games – sure, Smith would be fine with that.

But what about left guard? Where McCarthy said Smith would actually start this offseason playing as the Cowboys hope for the best with the health of Tyron Smith and Terence Steele.

A lot of players like to say "it doesn't matter" when discussing their position on the field. But with Smith, it actually seems like he has no real preference between the two.

"It can't (matter)," Smith said this week at a youth flag football camp at The Star. "The best thing for me – Zack (Martin) talked about it last year – is just being comfortable at both spots. I feel like having those reps last year, being in those situations last year where I was switching back and forth, it really helped me as a player."

Last season, Smith was predominantly at left tackle during the season, but don't forget that he was at left guard for most of the offseason, battling with Connor McGovern for the starting job. It wasn't until Tyron Smith suffered a severe hamstring injury that required surgery that put Tyler Smith at left tackle just before the start of the seasons.

And then when Tyron Smith returned in December, he went to right tackle, but there were times when the Cowboys would slide Tyler Smith into left guard just to get him ready for all possibilities.

"Being put under those high-stress situations where you might not have practiced it or used to it, but it's good being able to adapt to that sudden change," Smith said. "That could be the difference in losing by one and winning by one. That's the most important thing."

While Smith enters this year's camp with the same uncertainty about his actual position, there is a completely different level of comfort in his overall mindset and approach.

"I feel like it's no longer unchartered territory," Smith said of entering Year 2. "I feel like last year a lot of things were new. You feel like you were rushing sometimes to find a trainer or find a house – do all these things before training camp. Now that I'm more settled in, I have more of a schedule and comfortable in my routine. I know on the (July) 24th when we get there, things are going to be fast-moving, and I'm more ready for that, in terms of where I was last year."

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