How Much Will Tyron Smith’s Injury Impact the Dallas Cowboys

The injury to Cowboys starting left tackle Tyron Smith seems massive, as it’s been reported he will be out for at least a couple months after he tore his hamstring.

It might force the Cowboys to shift from a Pro Bowl Left Tackle to a Rookie.

But can we measure how massive the injury loss of Tyron Smith truly is?

Yes. So let’s dive in.

Against zone coverage the last two years, Dak has been strong with or without Tyron Smith on the field.

But against man coverage, the splits have been massive:

  • Smith on field v man: +0.11 EPA/att, 48% success, 7.6 YPA, 9.4 target depth, 29% of targets 10+ yds
  • Smith off field v man: -0.01 EPA/att, 45% success, 6.2 YPA, 7.9 target depth, 44% of targets 10+ yds

The same is true when blitzed. Looking at the last three seasons:

  • Smith on field v blitz: +0.23 EPA/att, 52% success, 8.2 YPA, 8.5 target depth, 33% of targets 10+ yds
  • Smith off field v blitz: +0.13 EPA/att, 49% success, 7.5 YPA, 7.5 target depth, 29% of targets 10+ yds

The prior two splits are based on what the defense is running.

How about we forget about the defense for a second and look across every single first down pass attempt for what Dallas is designing and executing offensively.

Across all first downs in the first half of games (a 284-attempt sample) the last three years, Dak averaged:

  • Smith on field: +0.11 EPA/att, 54% success, 7.7 YPA, 7.8 target depth, 27% of targets 10+ yds
  • Smith off field: -0.03 EPA/att, 46% success, 6.5 YPA, 6.6 target depth, 24% of targets 10+ yds

Looking at league-wide numbers the last three years, +0.11 EPA/att ranked #9. -0.03 EPA/att ranked #30.

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Tyron Smith Injury Impact on Passing Efficiency

The Cowboys first down passing efficiency with Dak Prescott is heavily impacted when Tyron Smith is on the field:

  • when Smith is on the field, the Cowboys were #9 in the NFL in 1st down passing efficiency
  • when Smith is off the field to, the Cowboys rank #30

Additionally, pressure naturally increased on these first down throws without Smith on the field:

  • Smith on field: pressured on 12% of 181 attempts
  • Smith off field: pressured on 18% of 103 attempts

Tyron Smith Injury Impact on Cowboys Run Game

There is also a colossal difference in the Dallas run game when Smith is on or off the field.

Ignoring third down runs and fourth quarter runs and thus looking at the vast majority of RB runs in a game which occur on early downs in the first three quarters since 2019:

  • Smith on field: -0.03 EPA/rush, 43% success, 4.8 YPC (425 attempts)
  • Smith off field: -0.23 EPA/rush, 33% success, 3.9 YPC (376 attempts)

To apply some context to these numbers:

Over that same 3-year time span, on these early down RB-runs in the first three quarters:

  • NFL average: -0.10 EPA/rush, 37% success, 4.4 YPC
  • #1 team: -0.04 EPA/rush, 44% success, 4.7 YPC (Green Bay)
  • #32 team: -0.24 EPA/rush, 31% success, 3.4 YPC (Miami)

The #31 team averaged -0.22 EPA/rush.

Thus, the Cowboys RB efficiency based on EPA with and without Smith on the field shifted from:

  • #1 in the NFL with him on the field (-0.03 EPA/rush)
  • #31 in the NFL without him on the field (-0.23 EPA/rush)

That’s insane.

It’s as massive a difference as you can get from one player over nearly 400 attempts in each split.

Prior to the injury loss of Tyron Smith, some sportsbooks had the Eagles to win the NFC East at +170.

If the Cowboys see a similar drop in run and pass efficiency over the course of all the plays in the 2022 season until at least December (Smith’s earliest return), there is no way shifting only 10 cents accounts for the difference Smith’s absence makes in these division odds.

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How does the Tyron Smith injury impact betting markets?

It’s unclear at this time if Smith’s injury will move betting lines for Cowboys win totals, but important to keep in mind as you consider betting on Dallas or various offensive player props this season.

Cowboys Current Win Total Over/Under Odds:

How many games will the Cowboys win this season?

The Cowboys are predicted to win 10.5 games in 2022, based on Vegas Odds.

Top NFL Players with Preseason Injuries:

  • Drake London, Falcons: The 2022 first-round pick hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee in the Falcons’ preseason opener.
  • Tyron Smith, Cowboys: The left tackle is out indefinitely with a torn hamstring.
  • David Bakhtiari, Packers: He was removed from the PUP list on August 21st, but has yet to participate in any team drills during practice.
  • Mekhi Becton, Jets: The former first round pick is expected to miss all of 2022 after suffering another knee injury.
  • Jason Kelce, Eagles: He’s out indefinitely after undergoing a scope on his elbow.

Get the latest NFL preseason injury news across all 32 teams in our daily updated tracker.

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