Tyron Smith hasn’t been sleeping on the other side of the bed, or doing everything left-handed to get prepared for moving sides of the line. He has been watching video of other players and working hard on his technique, though.
“The premiere pass rushers are on the left side,” Smith said. “It’s about studying your guy, and what you’ve got to do on the field. The more you know on the field, the faster you will play.”
Smith, fresh off a much-acclaimed rookie season, and Doug Free are switching sides with Smith moving from right tackle to left. Smith never played left tackle in college at USC, but nothing seems to faze the serious-minded Smith.
"My observations are that he’s handled it very well," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "If you remember, Tyron last year was a 20-year-old [rookie] on Day 1. The first play of the first practice, he was our starting right tackle, and he handled that well. We went to play the Jets in the first game and a really challenging defense, good players, really good scheme, difficult to play against, and he really didn’t blink. That’s been his history.
"We said. 'Ty, we’re going to move you to left.' He said, 'OK.' He started getting in a left-handed stance and started setting that way. He seems to be doing well. He’s a serious-minded kid. He works very hard. He’s physically tough. He’s mentally tough. I think he has some deep-down confidence, which is a really important thing and rightfully so. He’s a guy who never thinks it’s right. He’s a guy who’s always working a little after practice and always trying to refine it, and we think that’s a good thing, too. He’s got a long way to go over there, but he’s going about it the right way."
The Cowboys used the ninth overall pick on Smith last year. It was the first time in the Jerry Jones' era that they drafted an offensive lineman in the first round.
In his first season, without an off-season, Smith was one of the best right tackles in football. He had three holding penalties and allowed 9.5 sacks, according to STATS, Inc.
"I learned what you’ve got to do [and do it] quickly and take it seriously and just basically [seize] the opportunity," Smith said of his rookie season. "It’s got to become second nature to you."
-- Charean Williams