The Dallas Cowboys will be without All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith when they take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
The team announced Saturday that Smith (groin/back) and reserve tight end Geoff Swaim (knee) had been downgraded to out. Neither made the trip to Atlanta with the team.
The Cowboys also announced the signing of defensive tackle Daniel Ross off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad to take Ezekiel Elliott’s place on the roster. Ross will not be with the team in Atlanta.
Smith is a big loss for the Cowboys. He’s regarded as one of the best left tackles in the league and has been a staple on what’s considered the top offensive line in the NFL.
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Swing tackle Chaz Green, the starting left guard to begin the season, is expected to fill in for Smith. Green started two games in place of Smith early last season.
“I’m feeling good. It’s a position I’ve played before,” Green said earlier this week. “I’m confident if I have to go out there, I’ll be ready to go. My mindset is always to go out there as though I’m starting.”
Outside of sitting out those two games with a back injury last season, Smith also didn’t play in the season finale as a healthy scratch. He had started 55 straight games before missing Weeks 3 and 4 last season.
Smith has started every game this season.
Swaim, meanwhile, injured his knee in Thursday’s practice and had been listed as questionable. Undrafted free agent Blake Jarwin is set to be the team’s third tight end behind Jason Witten and James Hanna.
“They just told me to be prepared and ready to go,” Jarwin said. “Obviously it’s exciting to think about, but you don’t really want to start it that way with another guy getting injured. But stuff like that happens all the time, so you just have to be ready.”
Along with Smith and Swaim, kicker Dan Bailey (groin) will also miss this week’s game. Defensive back Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) may also sit out again.
Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will see a familiar face across from him Sunday in Atlanta.
Lawrence and Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder played together for a season at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. The 2010 Grizzlies — with Lawrence on the scout team and Schraeder starting — reached the NJCAA championship game.
Schraeder went on to play at Valdosta State and has had quite a journey from undrafted free agent to starting right tackle for the Falcons. He signed a five-year, $31.5 million extension last November.
“Schraeder got paid? Schraeder needs to give me some of that money because I used to go against him every day in junior college,” Lawrence said, smiling. “I mean, it’ll be a blast to play against him again.”
Lawrence is headed to his own payday this off-season. He is leading the Cowboys and ranks second in the NFL with 10.5 sacks. He’s the first Cowboys player to register double-digit sacks since Jason Hatcher had 11 in 2013.
But Lawrence fondly recalled his junior college days going against Schraeder. Butler also had future NFL players in quarterback Zach Mettenberger and defensive lineman Cornellius Carradine.
“We had a squad,” Lawrence said. “Having to go against [Schraeder] every day just made me better.”
But don’t expect Lawrence to talk too much trash to his former teammate. Lawrence said he knows how to talk it when he wants to, but refrains for the most part.
“I’ve got to stay focused,” Lawrence said. “Once I get in your head, that’s when I’ll start talking to you.”