As expected, the Dallas Cowboys will be without All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith a second consecutive game. Smith continues to deal with a groin injury.
Veteran Byron Bell will make his first Cowboys start in Smith’s place for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Bell, who has started 72 games in the NFL with his last coming in 2015, took first-teams reps in practice all week.
Smith’s replacement last week, Chaz Green, had one of the worst performances by an offensive linemen in recent memory. Green was beaten for four sacks by Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn and was eventually replaced by Bell. Bell didn’t fare much better as he was beat for two sacks.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan each said the team would game-plan better knowing Smith is out.
“Obviously last week we didn’t do a good enough job protecting the quarterback,” Garrett said. “We all have to look at ourselves and what we’re asking players to do and then obviously their execution of that. Protecting the quarterback is big every week in the NFL. Whoever is out there, we want to make sure we put them in a good place.”
For Smith, it marks the second straight season he will miss multiple games because of injuries. He missed two early on last season with back issues, and has now been out for two this season.
Smith had started 55 straight games before sitting out Weeks 3 and 4 last season.
Along with Smith, linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring), safety Jeff Heath (concussion) and kicker Dan Bailey (groin) are out with injuries.
Anthony Hitchens will start at weakside linebacker in place of Lee, and Justin Durant and Jaylon Smith will split snaps at middle linebacker. Rookie Xavier Woods will start at strong safety in place of Heath.
The rest of the inactives include running back Darren McFadden, defensive tackle Daniel Ross and tight end Blake Jarwin.