As owner Jerry Jones had pointed out, the "opportunity window" for the Dallas Cowboys to win a Super Bowl is getting smaller and smaller every year.
Tyron Smith could be a key for the Cowboys at left tackle.
On paper, the Cowboys, once again, have one of the most versatile and dynamic group of guys, but on the field, the ability to close games, and play consistent for all four quarters is still an issue.
Competing in the NFC East is not an easy task, especially in the battles between the trenches.
Quarterback Tony Romo recently told the media how he will never be an "elite quarterback" until he wins a Super Bowl.
The process of giving Romo the opportunity to win begins with his protection. At the end of the 2010 season, veterans Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and Andre Gurode were sent packing. The Dallas offensive line gave up 39 sacks in the 2011 season, which is an area that probably needs to be improved upon if the Cowboys expect to make the playoffs.
The Cowboys selected Tyron Smith, a highly regarded and athletic tackle from USC with their first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Smith could play a key part to the Dallas offensive line in 2012 should he live up to expectations.
Smith, selected as the ninth pick overall, has been moved to left tackle, but is not bothered by the move.
"I know a lot of people expect a lot of things from the left tackle," Smith said, according to ESPN. "It's just me not wanting to disappoint my teammates."
Smith was involved in a pro-style offense at USC, and was able to thrive due to his tremendous work ethic. The switch from right tackle will likely have minimal effect on his ability to perform at the pro level.
Another young offensive lineman who the Cowboys feel can have the biggest impact, and has the potential to start in the 2012 season, is undrafted free agent Ronald Leary.
Leary, considered to be the Cowboys "eighth-round draft pick," has already received praise from Jones.
"I like the way Leary didn't disappoint. I like the way Leary moved out there," Jones said, according to Dallasnews.com. "He's not my pet cat, but it sounds like it. He's got a real chance. He's pretty impressive."
Leary, who analysts believe was not drafted due to knee problems in college, was a standout at the University of Memphis and was named the team's offensive line MVP and as well as to the All-Conference USA second-team in 2011.
Standing 6'3, and weighing in around 324 pounds, Leary has the athletic ability to become a successful run blocker, and will able to move well in zone-blocking schemes.
"He's impressive to watch," offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "He's an athlete, has power, the ability to strike you violently, and you just see him relentlessly finish. He has that attitude that he wants to be great. That's special in a lot of ways."
Since Leary was not drafted, and still is still not considered 100 percent by team doctors, his depth chart position may alter by the start of the season, but he is optimistic, and so are his coaches.
"Right now, I'm 100 percent healthy," Leary said. "I saw my doctor at Memphis before I left, and he said if my knee was going to give out it would have given out during last season.
"I play with a chip on my shoulder because everybody is doubting me, so I'm out here to prove everybody wrong. "
Leary will face his first live competition against the Oakland Raiders in the first preseason game on Aug. 13.
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