Dallas Cowboys fans were excited about the preseason debut of linebacker Jaylon Smith last week. Apparently, so was his defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Before training camp, Marinelli treated Smith like every other new player, talking about the transition to the NFL, how the player needed to be coached and to learn about what it takes to play in this league. Now? Marinelli sounds a little bit fired up about the prospects of Smith.
“Oh boy, good instincts, speed,” Marinelli said. “Man that was a heckuva play he made on that tackle. You could see his speed, got natural instincts with leverage. And he’s just so hungry. Energy. He took another step. Another good step.”
We did our own breakdown of Smith, and Bob Sturm recently posted an in-depth one, too. Both of us noted that Smith was good at knowing where to be and diagnosing situations, but that he wasn’t quite physically there yet and may need to make adjustments for his knee from how he used to play. But overall, you could see that the ability was there.
One thing the Cowboys hope to see more of on Saturday night is reps against the run for Smith. Against the Colts he saw a majority of pass coverage reps, the Cowboys hope that won’t happen this week.
“You know we didn’t get probably as many runs as we would’ve liked and we would’ve hoped to,” Marinelli said. “But it was fine when he was in. But there’s so many different types of runs. They had a couple things that they ran. I think this week, this is a challenging run offense. Very good run offense. So it’ll be fun to see how we fit it up and know exactly where we’re fitting. They’re a physical group.”