DALLAS — Tyler Smith doesn't want to become a great offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys through trial and error.
The first-round pick from Tulsa knows that there is a wealth of experience on the team between left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin. Although the former North Crowley Panther texts both All-Pros at his leisure, the lesser Smith will be working more closely with the elder Smith as the rookie seeks to win the left guard job.
"I definitely ask him a lot, even just, like a lot of pre-snap stuff, where to put your eyes," Tyler Smith said. "What’s your aim when you get out of your stance? What’s your aim in the run game? Sometimes he’ll tell me things like `get to your spot in pass protection.’"
There is a difference between tackle and guard, and the rookie Smith is fully aware of the nuances. Therefore, he tailors his questions to specific subjects when gathering advice from the former 2011 first-rounder from USC.
"The way that you set at tackle is different from the way you set at guard," said Tyler Smith. "The way you run block at tackle is a little different from the way you run block at guard. So, just making sure I’m asking specific questions and good questions, too. He’s been doing this for over 13 years. This might be year 13 for him. So, he’s seen it all. He’s done it all. Just having a dude like that ready to be a resource for you is good for me and he’s always a help.”
The veteran Smith, who played 11 games for Dallas in 2021 after playing just two the year before, likes what he has seen from the younger offensive lineman through the early, non-padded portions of camp.
"As a young guy he has a couple of questions, but trying to help him out as much as we can to kind of get this thing quick started," Tyron Smith said. "So, he’s a good kid. He’s willing to work.”
Tyron Smith wouldn't necessarily endorse the notion that Tyler Smith had the same demeanor as him, but nevertheless recognized his willingness to try to improve.
"He’s a happy type guy but he’s also coming to work," said Tyron Smith. "He wants to get better. He wants to compete. He wants to fight out here. It’s good to see from a young guy.”
The younger Smith is in a position battle with veteran Connor McGovern for the left guard job. McGovern is entering the final year of his contract as a former 2019 third-round pick from Penn State. Winning the job won't be a cakewalk for the rookie.
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