FRISCO, Texas – Tyron Smith is the longest-tenured member of a proud Cowboys offensive line – and he's always toughest on himself.
The offensive line is in transition this week with assistant Marc Colombo, the Cowboys' starting right tackle from 2006-10, replacing Paul Alexander as the head line coach. Hudson Houck, Smith's first position coach in Dallas back in 2010, has rejoined the staff as an advisor.
Smith has a comfort level with both coaches. But the five-time Pro Bowl left tackle also expects himself to play better.
"For me, I'm someone that's hard on myself," he said Wednesday. "I feel like I can always do better. I'm not too happy with how I've been playing. There's things I have to get fixed and get better for my teammates."
The line has been productive for stretches this season, particularly during the club's 4-0 start at home. But collectively, quarterback Dak Prescott has been sacked 23 times through seven games, setting a pace that would far exceed the sack totals from his first two seasons (32 in 2017, 25 as a rookie in 2016).
Smith has the responsibility of protecting Prescott's blind side and usually faces teams' top edge rushers. He's also working with a new left guard, rookie Connor Williams, who has shown promise this season.
"We're lucky to have him as our left tackle," Garrett said of Smith last week. "And what we love about him most is that he's the one that's bothered most by him not playing at a high level on every snap. And that's what makes him such a great player.
"I think in general we've played better at home than we have on the road. I think in general our offensive line has played better at home than on the road and we've talked a long time about the challenges that you have with crowd noise and silent counts and all of those kinds of things. That could be a contributing factor."
Speaking to reporters again on Thursday, Garrett said he informed Alexander, a veteran line coach in his first season in Dallas, that the club was moving in a different direction on Monday.
The team is back to practice Thursday in preparation for Monday night's home game against the Titans. Smith and his fellow linemen agree that collectively they've got to get back to the high standard they've set on the line.
"There were problems across the board we had to get fixed," Smith said. "It wasn't just one certain thing, but we have to get this thing moving forward."