Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a groin injury, according to Jane Slater of NFL.com (Twitter link), who reports Smith will not play Sunday night against the Eagles. Instead, Dallas will turn to veteran Byron Bell to man the blindside.
Chaz Green handled left tackle for the Cowboys in Week 10, and was memorably beaten like a drum by Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn who posted a ridiculous six sacks, six more hurries, and a hit on Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. Clayborn, who had topped six sacks in a season just once prior to 2017, earned a spectacular 99.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for his performance.
While Green is certainly due his fair share of blame for last week’s debacle, the Cowboys coaching staff didn’t help him out by putting a tight end on the left side of the line, or sending a back to chip Clayborn. Additionally, nearly every lineman in the NFL would represent a downgrade from Smith, who is arguably the league’s best tackle.
Bell, 28, offers quite a bit more experience than Green (84 career appearances), but it’s not clear how ready is to take on Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and the rest of Philadelphia’s defensive line. Bell hasn’t been a regular starter since the 2015 season (and was mediocre at best as a full-time player), and has played only 18 offensive snaps this year.
Sunday’s tilt between the Cowboys and Eagles is the most important game on the Week 11 schedule, at least according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. While Philadelphia is virtually assured of a postseason berth, Dallas is facing a 25% playoff leverage — a metric which indicates the change in chance of making the playoffs based on the results of the selected game — on Sunday night.
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