Tyron Smith already having big impact on Jets’ revamped O-line (2024)

Tyron Smith already has made an impression in his short time with the Jets.

The eight-time Pro Bowl tackle looks the part, at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds.

He also has impressed his new coaches and teammates on the practice field, in the locker room and in the weight room.

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“It’s amazing, not to blow smoke up anyone’s butt or anything, but I was going through the weight room and I saw him repping out over 400 pounds on the bench like it was one of my 135 reps,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s an impressive man. He’s an impressive personality, and he’s definitely awesome to have.

“As a coach, you always want guys that you want to protect them from them. It’s easier to say whoa than giddy up. He’s definitely one of those guys who I’m recognizing that we’re going to have to pull back.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has watched Smith in the locker room this spring as he mentors young players like first-round pick Olu Fashanu.

“It’s great having him next to me in the locker room,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. He’s a Hall of Fame player, and damn, he’s a specimen. He’s a big strong man, and not a fat man either.”

Smith was a key addition for the Jets this offseason.

The longtime Cowboy is now in charge of keeping Rodgers safe by guarding his blindside.

The 33-year-old Smith has had injury issues of his own and has not played a full season since 2015.

But he says he feels good, and the Cowboys came up with a schedule for him to play 13 games last season.

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The Jets likely will do something similar in limiting Smith’s practice reps.

The Jets’ offensive line was a weakness last year, as injuries decimated a group that was shaky to begin with.

General manager Joe Douglas added Smith, tackle Morgan Moses and guard John Simpson in March to give the line a boost.

Smith said he feels the offense is now capable of big things.

“I feel like we can be a dominant offense as long as everybody’s on the same page,” Smith said. “I feel like we’re getting to that point. We’ve got to stay together every step of the way.”

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As important as Smith can be on the field, he also has huge value off the field.

They drafted Fashanu with the No. 11-overall pick with the idea that he would not have to play right away and can learn from Smith.

“It’s been great,” Smith said recently of his relationship with Fashanu. “He’s not shy to ask any questions. He’s willing to work. Like today, we were working technique after practice, trying to fine-tune different things because you never know what’s going to happen. In this league, it’s always next guy up. Everybody has to be ready.”

Saleh said Smith’s leadership has been on display already.

“He’s got great leadership,” Saleh said. “I know Olu is soaking up all the information he can get from him, which is awesome. I think all the tackles and O-linemen are gravitating toward him.”

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Smith said his preference is to lead by example, but he enjoys sharing tips with younger players.

He is not a loud player, though. He was even a bit embarrassed to be doing a press conference this spring.

“For me, I’ve never been a rah-rah type guy,” Smith said. “I try to stay as neutral as possible. For me, I’m always leading by example. It’s weird for me being at a press conference right now talking in front of you guys, because I’m not a big talking guy. I’m always leading by example.”

The offensive line has been a bit piecemeal this spring, as Moses and Alijah Vera-Tucker are coming back from surgeries.

Neither has been on the field. It will be critical for the starting offensive line to get some time together in training camp to build cohesion.

“I feel like we’re going to get that no matter what when training camp comes up,” Smith said. “Both of them have been working this whole time. It’s not like they have been missing. They know the playbook and certainly aren’t missing a beat.”

Tyron Smith already having big impact on Jets’ revamped O-line (2024)
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