Not long ago, the Cowboys tested what sounded like an early death knell for their season before they even had a chance to start. Breaking Tyron Smith’s kneecap decided he’d be out until at least December, and a likely solution was to move rookie Tyler Smith into place after spending most of the summer learning to play guard.
This plan left a lot of uncertainty and doubts about the Cowboys’ ability to compete properly in the NFC in 2022. Which is why it was such a big deal last week when it was announced that Jason Peters would be working with the team. This eventually led to his signature, A move that may have revived the cowboy season as he was losing consciousness.
Peters played last season for the Bears in a very similar position to what he’s coming to be in Dallas now. Chicago signed him in mid-August and ended up starting 15 games on the left tackle at the age of 39. While Peters was not the elite blind side protector who played with the Eagles for 12 years, he was easily the best player on his side. In fact, Peters scored a 19th highest on Pro Football Focus among all tackles last year.
Peters finished the year and was allowed only six sacks and was only punished three times. That last number was probably music to McCarthy’s ears after watching Josh Paul collect enough penalty flags to tie a scarf this season. To put Peters’ numbers into context, rams Andrew Whitworth allowed five sacks and was penalized six times last year with rams on his way to Energy win over.
Brandon Thorne of OL Masterminds gave a brief recap of Peters’ quietly impressive 2021 season in March, which has re-emerged since then, and it really paints a picture of why this signature is so big for the Cowboys:
It doesn’t get any better than studying Peters’ film either in terms of virtuosity at the Ph.D. level. Below are a dozen or so shots of him shuffling his combos and his hands on the lunges. Very well. pic.twitter.com/hRAobIlcrR
BrandonThornNFL March 10, 2022
It wasn’t long ago that Peters was considered one of the top five tackles in the NFL, as he routinely competed with Tyrone Smith for the top spot in the eyes of many analysts. His game started to slip when he tore up the ACL and MCL in the 2017 season, but Peters was still with the team in his Super Bowl career and beyond. And last year, he’s still playing in his top 20. There’s no doubt that, no matter what his level of play this year, Peters can at least provide valuable guidance to the younger attacking men here.
Peters stated earlier in the off-season that he plans to play for a team in 2022, and as such has been keeping fit for the past few months. Now, the Queen City, Texas native is returning to his home state with a very real chance of playing a key role for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations until just over a week ago.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is how quickly he’ll be able to get dressed. When Peters joined the Bears last year, he had several weeks to train with the team before the regular season started; He also benefited from being reunited with the offensive line coach who was with him for most of his time in Philadelphia.
Peters doesn’t have that kind of time or familiarity now, so it might be a week or two before he can really come up and play. That probably explains why the Cowboys signed him onto their coaching staff rather than adding him to the active roster. This will also allow the coaching team to get at least one look at Tyler Smith when left-handing in a real game situation, which may or may not be a good thing.
All in all, the Cowboys have come a long way by bringing Peters into the fold. They can no longer be accused of doing nothing in the center tackle, even if Peters doesn’t enjoy repeating the 2021 season. The influence he will have in the locker room will be invaluable, and odds are good that Peters will give the team an above-average left-footed play. That alone might be enough to pull this team off the brink they were apparently headed for.
The occurrence of this move in the first full week of September proves that listing creation is, in fact, a 24/7/365 endeavor.