Calvin Watkins has a post up on the ESPNDallas.com Cowboys blog about first-round pick Tyron Smith. He's going to be the team's starting right tackle this season and the Cowboys are investing a lot of time and energy during, and especially after, practice in Smith:
Smith spends time getting his footwork set with offensive line coach Hudson Houck and Doug Free, the left tackle who wants to see the rookie succeed. There's DeMarcus Ware telling him about how to place his hands on a speed rusher, because you get a lot of that when you play in the NFC East.
Smith does more talking after practice in the pros than he did at USC. The after-practice work at USC had the entire offensive line getting work.
In the pros, it's about Smith getting better.
Like every other team in our fair division, the Cowboys are going to start the 2011 season with question marks on the offensive line. They have the rookie at right tackle and currently no idea who from among Montrae Holland, Phil Costa, David Arkin and Bill Nagy will play left guard. Kyle Kosier, who played left guard last season, has moved over to right guard to help more directly with Smith's development. And as Watkins writes, lots of folks, including one of the league's best pass-rushers, are staying late to tutor Smith and make sure he's as prepared as possible when the season starts.
I imagine every rookie in the league is going to struggle some in the early part of this season, having had no organized team activities or minicamps as a result of the lockout. Teams seem especially concerned about their rookie offensive linemen. The Eagles are giving rookie right guard Danny Watkins extra snaps in practice, for example. There's a lot an offensive lineman needs to learn, drill and remember, and these guys are dong it in a compressed period of time. It's good, from a Cowboys fan standpoint, to see Smith getting the extra attention.