The Dallas Cowboys are expected to get a big boost on defense this season thanks to Jaylon Smith the second-year linebacker who missed all of 2016 due to a knee injury. The key word there is expected because theres absolutely no guarantee hell be out there when the season kicks off.
Smith is still recovering from the knee injury suffered in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago as his nerves continue to regenerate, making it difficult to gauge how effective and healthy hell actually be in 2017. According to the linebacker himself, though, hell be on the field in Week 1 against the Giants.
He said as much on Wednesday at the Cowboys annual golf tournament.
Smith has yet to do on-field work with the team, and Jason Garrett doesnt expect him to do much in rookie minicamp besides walkthroughs and meetings. Its understandable for the Cowboys to take it extremely slow with their young linebacker, especially with his delicate situation.
He said hes able to do everything in practice and is looking tremendous, but still wears a brace for his drop-foot condition. It remains to be seen whether hell need to wear it during the season, which wouldnt be ideal, saying that will depend on the growth of the nerve.
Jerry Jones shared his thoughts on Smiths situation Wednesday as well, saying hell be a franchise player that will be around for many, many years. That's obviously the hope, and based on his current prognosis -- doctors believe his nerve can regenerate to "maximum potential" -- but the Cowboys shouldn't get too far ahead of themselves when it comes to Smith's future.
They're going to take it one step at a time, beginning with on-field work and training camp practices, where Jones believes he won't have any limitations.