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Running the Numbers: Tyron-nosaurus Smith

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Jonathan Bales

I swear I was THIS close to titling my latest DallasCowboys.com blog post “Tyron-nosaurus Smith.” I went with “Tyron Smith to Left Tackle: Why the Cowboys Will Be Better” because I’m a wuss. Now I’m regretting it.

Anyway, here is the post in Smith. And a preview:

Smith enjoyed a terrific season in pass protection. I credited him with six sacks and 16 pressures allowed. That pressure rate of 2.5 percent ranked Smith as the third-best right tackle in the NFL in 2011. If he can shore up his pass protection against the Eagles, to whom he allowed four of his six sacks last season, the sky is the limit in 2012.

The difference between Smith and Free in pass protection is the primary reason the new left tackle will be just fine this year, but the second-year lineman also outperformed Free as a run blocker last season. When running behind Smith, the Cowboys averaged a stout 5.43 yards-per-carry. Compare that to just 3.26 yards-per-carry behind Free. There are certainly limitations to those numbers and differences between the left and right sides, but such a distinct gap indicates Smith was doing something right in his rookie year.

PFF has a pretty cool stat known as Pass Blocking Efficiency. The stat is calculated by taking a player’s total pressure allowed [sacks + 0.75(hits) + 0.75(hurries)] and dividing it by his total snaps in pass pro. My own film study on Smith yielded different numbers than PFF, although they weren’t wildly different (PFF credited Smith with 21 pressures and eight sacks allowed).

With my numbers, Smith would receive a PBE of 96.6%. That would rank him as the fifth-best pass protecting offensive tackle in the league, behind Joe Thomas, Andrew Whitworth, David Stewart, and Jason Peters. As it stands now, PFF has Smith ranked 11th.

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