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September 12, 2012

Tyron Smith isn't worried about the fine, vows to clean up false starts

Tyron Smith had four penalties in his first ever game at left tackle. Still, he earned an "attaboy" from the Cowboys, one of the weekly awards the team gives after victories.

Smith won it for his hustle in chasing down Giants linebacker Michael Boley after a second-quarter Tony Romo interception. Smith was docked $15,750 by the league for his horse-collar tackle on Boley, which saved a touchdown. 

He will not, he smiled, pass the helmet around the locker room for his teammates to help pay his fine. 

"It was a way to help my team out," Smith said. "If you care about the money that much, you’re playing for the money. I’m playing because I want to."

Smith, who gave up no sacks, was unforgiving about the tackle, calling it a last-ditch effort. He is more concerned about the league-leading three false starts. Doug Free and Jason Witten also had falsestarts, Dez Bryant had an illegal motion and the Cowboys had two delay of games.

Smith said it had more to do with the unfamiliarity of new center Ryan Cook, who arrived at Valley Ranch on Aug. 31 after a trade with the Dolphins, than being twitchy about facing Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

"It’s more just being on the same page as the center on the snap count," Smith said. "That’s why I was offsides a few times. We’re more on the same page this week. It’ll help this week coming up."

Phil Costa reinjured his back after only three plays last week, forcing Cook into the lineup. Cook has practiced with the first-teamers this week and is expected to get the start with Costa's back still bothering him.

“Everybody’s on more of the same page this week with the new center we have moving in,” Smith said. “He’s working hard and everybody’s working hard as a unit to get everything cleaned up.”

Smith will face his college coach, Pete Carroll, this week. Carroll is not surprised to see Smith at left tackle, though he played only the right side for Carroll. Smith, the No. 9 overall pick last year, also spent his rookie season at right tackle before he and Free switched sides this off-season.

"We always thought of him as that, that he could do that," Carroll said Wednesday. "He’s a fantastic athlete. He’s extraordinary in what he’s capable of doing. There’s nothing he can’t do. We’re not surprised at all. I see why they did it. They gave him a chance to be comfortable for the first year and then make the move and it looks like it’s working out great for them."

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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