Lance Dunbar is out for the season. The Eagles won Sunday to keep pace in the NFC East. And, suddenly, we’re closer to Christmas than Halloween and you haven’t done a lick of shopping.
But enough of the negatives.
Sean Lee returns to the field next Monday night in Chicago. There are only four NFC teams (Seahawks, Saints, Panthers and 49ers) with more wins than the Cowboys’ seven. And there aren’t many left tackles playing better than Tyron Smith.
Smith wasn’t a sexy No. 1 draft pick for the Cowboys in 2011. But, right before our eyes, steady is blossoming into spectacular.
Just ask the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul and the Raiders’ Lamarr Houston. Two of the dominant defensive ends in the NFL, against Smith they combined for a whopping three tackles, no sacks and zero impact the last two games. While the Cowboys have rushed for 251 yards in their last two victories, Smith has propelled himself into Pro Bowl consideration with his dominant prime-time performances.
And, not to mention, he had a key fumble recovery that bailed out Dez Bryant and helped fuel the Cowboys' turkey-day rally past Oakland.
You don’t see Smith violently blasting his man into the secondary because, frankly, he doesn’t have to. Believe it or not, he’s a tactically sound, finesse blocker at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds. With precise footwork, immensely strong hands and insane agility for a guy of his proportions, he simply suffocates and neutralizes opponents. Fighting to get around Smith on the edge is like trying to quickly navigate around a merry go-round. It’s solid. It’s always moving. And there are no shortcuts.
Smith doesn’t bludgeon. He absorbs. He de-fangs. He kills with kindness.
Said Tony Romo in the locker room after beating the Raiders, “I hope people recognize how good he’s playing right now. He’s had a fantastic season, and he keeps getting better and better.”
The left tackle has allowed only one sack all season.
During their playoff push the Cowboys will run left for the most precious yards. And, thanks to Smith, Romo’s blindside will be his best side.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.