Cameron Fleming started in place of Smith and played admirably. Smith was limited in practice this week after injuring his neck against the Falcons. The stinger proved too tender during pre-game drills. The short week didn’t give Smith as much time to heal.
“During warm-ups I tested it out to see if it was ready and it wasn’t there yet,” said Smith, who was in uniform on the sideline. “The best decision was to wait until next week to get going.”
Smith expects to be ready Thursday against the New Orleans Saints.
“It was a little bit of a shock, but I had to get over it pretty quick,” Fleming said upon learning he was starting. “Of course my mindset changed. It went from stay ready to be ready.”
Of the five expected starters on the offensive line at the start of the season, only two played on Thursday: right guard Zack Martin and right tackle La’el Collins. Xavier Su’a-Filo started his third game in place of left guard Connor Williams.
“Cam and the whole group did a heck of a job. I’m proud of him and proud of the whole group,” said Smith, who started the first 10 games. “I need this week to heal up and I’ll be ready to go.”
Center Joe Looney, who has started all season for Travis Frederick, said adjustments were made at halftime that proved successful. The Cowboys scored 21 second half points.
“Cam Fleming is a great player. He’s been on Super Bowl teams and has two Super Bowl rings so it’s no surprise to us that he was going to go in there and perform the way a professional is supposed to,” Looney said. “We’re going to fight for this thing. [Xavier Su’a-Filo] and Cam, they’ve played in this league. They know what it takes to win. I’m happy to have them on our team.”