The Dallas Cowboys are set to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday and when they do they will be licking their wounds just a bit. Sunday’s victory against the Houston Texans was costly in that a handful of Cowboys players suffered injuries. Notably among them right tackle Terence Steele tore both his ACL and MCL which means he will miss the rest of the season.
To this point in the season the Cowboys have already been operating without one of the starting tackles they planned on when they envisioned this roster way back in the offseason. Tyron Smith suffered a hamstring injury right before the regular season began and has been out ever since.
Last week the Cowboys opened Smith’s 21-day practice window and it appears that this week they could take the next step with him. During his Tuesday radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan. team owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones said that as he sees things right now Smith will be playing on Sunday.
Jerry Jones on Tyron Smith to 105.3 The Fan: “As I see it right now, he’ll be playing Sunday,” the owner said. Wouldn’t say Smith would start, but expects him to get snaps vs. Jacksonville.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) December 13, 2022
As ESPN’s Todd Archer notes Jerry’s statement does not necessarily mean that Smith will start at left tackle. It makes sense for the team to slowly bring him back to full action although with the Steele injury they are a bit limited on able bodies.
If the Cowboys do choose to rotate Smith in, it’s possible we see a number of offensive line combinations against the Jaguars, especially when factoring in the potential of Dallas rotating at right tackle as well in the aftermath of the Steele injury.
Potential offensive line combinations at different times this week (left to right)
- Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Josh Ball
- Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Jason Peters
- Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Josh Ball
- Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Jason Peters
The Cowboys are looking beyond the regular season to the playoffs and need to make sure that they are prepared from an offensive line standpoint. This isn’t to say that winning these games doesn’t remain the paramount focus, after all the Cowboys are still technically in contention for the NFC East and potentially the top seed in the conference, they just need help for that to become a controllable destiny.
One player that is likely not playing Sunday against Jacksonville is Johnathan Hankins. He strained his pectoral muscle versus the Texans and Jerry let us know that it’s unlikely we will see him again before the playoffs.
Jerry Jones to @1053thefan on Cowboys DT Johnathan Hankins' pec strain: "You can see Johnathan back for the playoffs. He won't be back before then."— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 13, 2022
Hankins has helped the Cowboys with their run defense tremendously, and will be needed in the playoffs. The Cowboys will go the cautious route here.