The Dallas Cowboys are entering the 2023 season with the best roster in recent memory. Most positions don’t only have strong, in many cases outstanding starters, but the depth appears very good. But there is one glaring exception to the depth category: The offensive line. There is no concern about the five starters as long as they are healthy, but the backups there are suspect at best. So with the season opener against the New York Giants on Sunday night, there was a disturbing development on Monday.
Cowboys LG Tyler Smith walked off practice field toward conclusion of the portion that was open to reporters. He spoke with head athletic trainer Jim Maurer before exiting. Something to watch on game week. https://t.co/8bxTTJo0PX— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 4, 2023
Cowboys LG Tyler Smith walked out of practice early with head athletic trainer Jim Maurer during the session that was open to media.— Nick Harris (@NickHarrisDC) September 4, 2023
No immediate clarity or speculation on why.#DallasCowboys
There was no cause for immediate panic, as this could have been something as simple as a cramp with the team practicing outside in the still hot Texas weather. Thankfully an update was provided and while it was deemed minor, it was reported as a hamstring issue which is never something you want to hear about.
Cowboys LG Tyler Smith exited practice today with hamstring discomfort, a person familiar with the situation said. Initial belief is it’s minor.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 4, 2023
As it stands now, Smith would be replaced by rookie Asim Richards, according to the depth chart at DallasCowboys.com. T.J. Bass and Josh Ball also are listed as backup guards, but the team has shown a preference for keeping players at one position as much as possible. Richards has looked promising during the preseason, but is still learning to play the pro game. He would be an unquestionable downgrade, and with the rising defensive line of the Giants, that is not a comfortable thought.
The possible absence of players like Sam Williams and Donovan Wilson, as Gelhken also reported, is much less of a concern because of the depth at defensive end and safety. Still, the Cowboys need to get off to a good start this season, and any downgrade is not helpful.
But the main focus is going to be on Smith and whether this could keep him out of the lineup. We will keep a close eye on it and report all developments.