The holidays came early for the Dallas Cowboys beat-up offensive line as offensive tackle Tyron Smith -- an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time First-Team All-Pro, and 2010's All-Decade Team member -- is expected to make his 2022 season debut this week at the Jacksonville Jaguars. News of the 32-year-old's return couldn't come at a better time since Dallas lost its starting right tackle Terrence Steele for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in their Week 14 win against the Houston Texans.
"As I see it right now, he'll [Smith] be playing Sunday," Cowboys owner and general manger Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas, via Yahoo Sports.
Even though he missed six games with an ankle sprain in the 2021 season, Smith only allowed two sacks and 10 pressures in 416 pass-blocking snaps. Smith is still one of the top run-blockers in the NFL at 6'5, 320 pounds and could once again be a driving force for running backs Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.
He'll likely slot in at left tackle, pushing Tyler Smith, the Cowboys' 24th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, back inside to left guard. Jason Peters -- the 40-year-old nine-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time First-Team All-Pro, and 2010's All-Decade Team member -- seems poised to fill Steele's shoes at right tackle. The Philadelphia Eagles legend was inserted at the right tackle slot late in Sunday's game against the Texans after backup Josh Ball struggled to hold up as Steele's right tackle fill-in. Peters had not taken a snap at that position in a live game since 2005 before Sunday, but he held up well while helping the Cowboys rally for a 27-23 win.
Smith's return could help stabilize a Cowboys offensive line that has ranked 12th in the NFL in terms of pressure percentage allowed with a 31.7% pressure rate on quarterback dropbacks. The rushing attack could make the leap into the top five as Dallas ranks as the NFL's seventh-best rushing offense, averaging 144.5 rushing yards per game.