Count Dak Prescott among those who believe Aldon Smith is in for a big year if he continues to play as he has so far in the Dallas Cowboys training camp. The quarterback talked to the media on Thursday after the team’s latest practices and raved about what the linebacker has done so far.
In a video posted to Yahoo Sports, Prescott said that since his new teammate returned to NFL practices, he’s looked like “a monster.” He added that Smith isn’t playing like he’s been out of the league for five years.
Those words of encouragement came amid a flurry of positive talk from members of the Cowboys who like what they’ve seen from the defense so far this summer.
The quarterback’s comments were quite similar to what defensive coordinator Mike Nolan had to say. Nolan told Jori Epstein of USA Today that Smith stands out because of his size and the way he uses it. Smith is also showing he’s picking up what the coaches are trying to teach him.
“From a physical standpoint, there’s really not a whole lot of limitations,” Nolan said Wednesday. “He understands football very well.”
Epstein said those comments are part of what has been the “Aldon Smith Hype Train.” His head coach joined that train as well.
Mike McCarthy told Epstein that “number 58” is standing out from the pack. The linebacker, who will also be playing some defensive end for the Cowboys, is changing his number as he tries to restart his career.
He wore number 99 with the Oakland Raiders but it appears he’s trying to get a fresh start in several different ways. His teammates and coaching staff believe it’s “so far, so good.”
McCarthy was quick to point out that the comeback isn’t all about just using his physical gifts. He also needs to gel with the rest of the Dallas defensive roster, and the head coach said that’s going well too.
Smith was called a “team player” by those who have been watching him closest. He’s not looking to just stand out from the pack, but also make his cohorts look good.
The way he has looked has surprised quite a few people in camp. Many expected to see more rust on Smith after five years away from the NFL.
One of the newest additions to Dallas, Everson Griffen assessed Smith as “playing, running and striking well” in spite of his layoff. Returning captain DeMarcus Lawrence touted Smith’s charisma and personality.