Cowboys News: Aldon Smith Praised by HC Mike McCarthy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches during an NFL football training camp practice in Frisco, Texas, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.(AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday defensive end Aldon Smith has been a standout performer during the early stages of training camp.

"If you walked away from practice, you would say, 'Hey, who the hell is No. 58?'" McCarthy told reporters. "You can see his power. His length is extraordinary. ... I'm very happy with where Aldon is right now."

Smith signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cowboys in April. He was reinstated in May after being suspended for the past four seasons because of violating of the NFL's personal conduct and substance abuse policies. His last game was in November 2015.

The 30-year-old University of Missouri product told TMZ Sports following his reinstatement that he's an "overall better person" than he was during his first NFL stint, adding:

"My goal is to pick up where I left off. That just means I always work hard. I always play hard. I want the same thing out of my teammates and I'm sure those guys in the locker room feel the same way, and with that mentality, the sky is the limit. I think as long as we do what we need to do and everybody plays to their potential anything's possible."

Smith was one of the league's premier edge-rushers across his first five seasons, spending four years with the San Francisco 49ers and one with Oakland Raiders. He recorded 47.5 sacks in 59 regular-season appearances, including 19.5 sacks during the 2012 season with the Niners.

McCarthy explained Sunday that the 2012 Pro Bowl selection appears primed to make an impact.

"He looks great," McCarthy said. "He's probably about 20 pounds bigger than when I last saw him play for the 49ers. Very powerful. His length is extraordinary. He made a play in the team period on a screen that you don't see every day—that's for sure. He's off to a great start. I mean, he's hit the target in every phase that we've gone through, particularly with the strength and conditioning."

Smith's path to playing time once the regular season begins features some hurdles. DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen and Tyrone Crawford are all likely ahead of him on the depth chart at defensive end.

If he continues to impress during camp, however, the Cowboys will find a way to get him on the field, especially in key pass-rushing situations.