Tyron Smith 'one of best tackles in league'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith blocks a heck of a lot better than he talks.

Want to know how well he's playing? He's not the guy to ask.

"It's all about cleaning up things from the week before and moving on from it," Smith said, one of his longer answers during a brief media session following his dominant performance in a 31-24 Thanksgiving win against the Oakland Raiders.

You could watch the film of Smith's last two games. You could see him silence New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose mouth wrote checks his body couldn't cash against Smith, who held the former Pro Bowler to a grand total of one tackle, no sacks and no pressures in Dallas' key NFC East win last week. You could check out Smith helping clear the way for the Cowboys' running backs to run through the Oakland defense for 145 yards and three touchdowns, one of which featured the 22-year-old tackle blocking two Raiders. Lamarr Houston, Oakland's outstanding right defensive end, recorded only two tackles and no other statistics against Smith.

Or just ask almost anybody else in the Cowboys' locker room. They'll eagerly tell you how well Smith, who will be a cornerstone of the Cowboys' offensive line for years to come, is performing during his third NFL season and second at left tackle.

"I hope people recognize how good he's playing right now," said quarterback Tony Romo, who has been sacked by Smith's man only once in 12 games. "He's had a fantastic season, and he keeps getting better and better."

Added defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who is frequently seen working with Smith on footwork during free time in training camp: "I feel like he's playing like one of the best tackles in the league right now. I feel like he's having a Pro Bowl year."

In other words, Smith is fulfilling the potential the Cowboys saw in him when they selected him ninth overall in the 2011 draft, making him the first offensive lineman drafted by Dallas in the first round during owner/general manager Jerry Jones' tenure.

There are few offensive linemen as physically gifted as Smith, who is a cut 6-foot-5, 318-pounder with rare agility for a man his size. In terms of pure talent, Jones mentions Smith's name in the same sentence of recently inducted Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen.

"Let's don't quite get Tyron to Canton yet, but still, that's what comes to mind with a player like him," Jones said. "But he's not as strong as Larry Allen. And frankly, probably not as sudden, but he's very smooth and is ... every bit the athlete, every bit the player you want at left tackle."

Jones added the Cowboys made a good decision to draft Smith, whose performance is speaking volumes in supporting that case.