Cowboys' Tyron Smith thinks he'll be able to return for Thanksgiving game

For the last two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have been without not only star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but also All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. The results have not been pretty. Dak Prescott has been sacked 12 times in two games, with Smith's replacements, Chaz Green and Byron Bell, being victimized seven times. 

Lucky for the Cowboys, it sounds like Smith is on the verge of a return this week. Owner Jerry Jones, during a radio appearance, said that there's a chance Smith will play on Thursday against the Chargers

That came mere hours after Smith himself told Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News that he expects to be ready to play. 

His return cannot come soon enough. The Chargers have one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and the Cowboys cannot afford to have their offense undermined by horrid offensive line play the way it was the last two weeks. 

Having Smith back out there will allow the Cowboys to return to their usual style of pass-protection, freeing them from having to use multiple tight ends on nearly every snap like they did against the Eagles, the better to give both Bell and right tackle La'el Collins additional help. No. 2 tight end James Hanna played a season-high 32 snaps against Philly, No. 3 tight end Geoff Swaim played double-digit snaps for just the fourth time, and slot receiver Cole Beasley saw his snap-share cut to 32, which represented his third-lowest total of the season. 

Dallas is 5-5 after losing the last two games and is on the verge of dropping out of the playoff race. They have to win games on the strength of their offense, especially without star linebacker Sean Lee out, and without Smith it was just too difficult to do that. His return is massive for the team. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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