Tyron Smith tries not to think about penalties

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
8:00
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IRVING, Texas -- When Tyron Smith was drafted as a first-round pick in 2011, it was of the hope he would eventually move to left tackle.

After a successful rookie season at right tackle, Smith moved to the left side for 2012.

After three games, Smith leads the NFL with five false start penalties, six overall. The only penalty that some will forgive is the personal foul call in Week 1 against the New York Giants because it prevented a touchdown. He was flagged for a horse collar on linebacker Michael Boley during an interception return. Smith was fined $15,750 for the play.

Smith, like right tackle Doug Free, who has six penalties this season, must improve his play. While he hasn't given up a sack, according to Stats LLC., it appears he's struggled at times.

"It bothers me to have a penalty but the thing is to not think about it and move on from it," Smith said. "If you think about it, it's going to bother you and mess up your game."

Smith is an athletic offensive lineman who uses his power to keep defenders away. But it seems he's struggling at protecting quarterback Tony Romo's blindside. At times, Smith pushes defenders away from the pocket, forcing Romo to step into harm's way in the middle.

Monday night, Smith takes on the Chicago Bears who lead the NFL with 14 sacks overall -- nine of which come from the front four.

"All their up front guys are high-motor guys, real high-effort guys," Smith said. "They know what they're doing up front and they don't give up."

The big problems for Smith, which must be solved, are the penalties, especially pre-snap. Smith and Free talked about communication being a factor toward getting better. A new center, Ryan Cook, is still making adjustments with his cadence, but other times Smith said the tackles are trying to get off the ball quickly as another reason for the false starts.

"Just me and Doug being the tackles, as outside guys we're always trying to be quicker than everybody else," Smith said. "So that is what's messing it up a little bit. We're a little bit quicker than everybody else is."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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