Smith (knee) got the start at middle linebacker in Saturday's preseason game against the Colts and played 12 snaps with the first-team defense, Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News reports.
Anthony Hitchens shifted to the weak side while Sean Lee tended to a slight hamstring strain, opening up the middle for Smith. Seeing his first live game action since suffering a gruesome knee injury in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, he flashed his upside on both run and pass plays, getting penetration in the backfield and stuffing Jack Doyle on a third-down catch to force a Colts punt. His timing wasn't sharp as he over-ran his target on occasion, but given his long layoff some rust is to be expected. There are still concerns over how fatigue will impact him over a 16-game schedule while wearing a brace to support his lower leg, and whether the brace will disrupt his ability to change direction quickly, but even if he's not 100 percent Smith looks poised to play a significant role in the Cowboys' defense in 2017.
Smith's return to game action has been a longtime coming, as he's now more than 18 months removed from the knee injury that pushed him out of the first round of the 2016 draft and sidelined him his entire rookie season. The team may still ease him into game action, but him seeing any time will be a major step in the right direction as he looks to play a large role for the defense in 2017 and beyond.
Smith (knee) is closing in on a return to game action, Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram reports.
Smith's year long battle with a knee injury looks to be on the cusp of a final chapter. The 22-year-old has been excelling in training camp and is eager to show his skills in a preseason game. The Cowboys are hoping Smith will be able to get acclimated to game speed before the regular season rolls around, but either way it's looking like the Notre Dame product is nearing a full return.
Smith (knee) saw action at middle linebacker with the first-team defense during Wednesday's practice, the first time he's done so in the NFL, Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reports.
The 2016 second-round pick got the opportunity when Anthony Hitchens slid over to the weak side in place of a resting Sean Lee, and he made the most of it, looking fairly smooth in coverage and putting what could have been a big hit on Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Smith continues to make impressive strides in his recovery from the knee injury that ended his college career at Notre Dame and sidelined him for his entire rookie season. The Cowboys haven't yet indicated whether Smith will suit up for Saturday's preseason game against the Rams, but he seems ready for his first game action as a pro.
Smith (knee) could see his first game action as a Cowboy in Saturday's preseason game against the Rams, Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reports. "I think his baseline health is at a point where he could play, it's just getting him in that football shape and doing things the right way," Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said Monday. "I think Jaylon's going to be around here the next 10 years. We don't want to do anything that's not taking care of Jaylon."
The 2016 second-round pick has been able to suit up for five of the team's seven padded practices so far in training camp, a notable improvement from his every-other-day schedule during OTAs and mini-camp. If Smith does play Saturday his snaps will be very limited, but he continues to trend towards a regular-season NFL debut in Week 1 -- and a remarkable comeback from what seemed like a career-threatening knee injury.
|P4||8/31/17||@ HOU||8:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|3||9/25/17||@ ARI||8:30 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/22/17||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ WAS||4:25 pm|
|10||11/12/17||@ ATL||4:25 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ NYG||4:25 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ OAK||8:30 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|