OXNARD, Calif. — Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith wipes the sweat from his face with a Gatorade towel, another training camp practice of his fifth active pro season in the books. Smith is still wearing a navy jersey bearing his newly adopted No. 9, his hands still encased in the off-white Adidas gloves he wore to practice.
But Smith’s feet, not his hands, are what he and coaches are locked in on this preseason.
“Minimizing the wasted steps,” Smith says.
Missteps contributed to a disastrous 2020 defensive showing, the Cowboys allowing 29.6 points per game (ranking 28th in the NFL) and 386.4 yards (23rd). Sure, Dallas knows, NFL rules and trends are paving the way for new heights in league scoring and passing. And yet it was the Cowboys run defense,