Just one week after the official @DallasCowboys twitter handle showed off sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith’s progress, the Dallas Cowboys are changing their tune.

When Dallas drafted Smith high in the second round in 2016, they were fully aware of the nerve regeneration process ahead and how long it would take the injury he sustained during the Fiesta Bowl to heal. The Cowboys own knee specialist performed Smith’s surgery and the team has felt confident in Smith’s time table towards healing.

He’s made significant progress over the course of the year and is now participating in offseason workouts with the team. Coaches and staff are still playing it safe with Jaylon though.

“He’s going to do the veteran stuff on the field on Tuesday and Thursday, so I don’t anticipate him doing a lot on the field over the weekend,” Garrett said on Monday.

The Cowboys have had a slow and steady approach with Smith. From the moment they drafted him, they’ve made it clear they aren’t rushing the process and want to give him plenty of time to heal. Although they’d like him to be ready in time for OTA’s they won’t hesitate to put on the brakes in order to help Smith heal the correct way in order to avoid re-injury.

“It seemed like he handled the work well last week, and he’s just done an amazing job right from the start with his rehab, taking it day by day, making progress, and we’ll continue to do that,” Garrett said. “If he takes that approach, that’s when he’s going to have his most success. That’s what he’s done up to this point.”

The Dallas Cowboys desperately need to improve their pass rush if they want to be playoff contenders this season. Drafting Smith in 2016 as well as their newest defensive end, Taco Charlton, two weeks ago in this year’s draft were strategic moves by Dallas meant to strengthen their front seven. Smith’s health is a key component to their strategy, so fans should expect the Cowboys not to rush any part of Smith’s healing process.

Lauren Scullion is a lifelong Cowboys fan, secret Packers fan, Dallas Cowboys/ NFL writer, social media guru and NFC East know-it-all.