Jason Peters was asked to do something he was definitely not ready to do, but he kept his promise to do whatever the Cowboys needed, and they walked away upset because of it.
ARLINGTON, Texas— You know you’re a legend at your job when you can do someone else’s job and still be dominant. Such is the case with Jason Peters, who hasn’t taken a single snap at right tackle since his 2005 season with the Buffalo Bills, a 15-year gap between then and now – when the Dallas Cowboys asked him to d step in and be a hero in week 14.
The team saw starting right tackle Terence Steele fall in the second quarter with a knee injury, only to not return, and backup tackle Josh Ball was released with a chance to show his worth.
Instead, he battled mightily against the Texans’ pass rush, as evidenced by a pressure-fueled interception from Dak Prescott and his pitch shot. And after being unable to do anything on their records following the loss of Steele, the Cowboys made a hugely unexpected move by sending Peters to the right tackle … and with the game on the line.
“Man, I didn’t know I was going to do this,” a still-stunned Peters said after the agonizing 27-23 win at AT&T Stadium. “The O line started to go down and they dressed me for a reason, so I just walked in and tried to help the team and get the win.”
As honest as ever, Peters said he wasn’t kidding.
He was truly stunned, although ready to do whatever the Cowboys needed, the latter being something he said immediately after signing – having now been proven to be true, time and time again.
“You can not [prepare for that]”, Peters said. “I hadn’t taken good tackle reps since 2005, so I just came into the game and I know how to stay in front of people, and that’s what I did.
Having been unable to move the ball down with the ball up, things changed immediately with Peters on the right side of Prescott. The first play was a completion to Dalton Schultz for 23 yards, then a rollout from Prescott down the right side for a nine-yard gain, then a 13-yard completion to Schultz on a drive that also saw Prescott connect with Noah Brown for a critical 18-yard completion that put the Cowboys on the Texans 22-yard line.
In other words, Prescott suddenly had time to cook and it was because Peters brought the groceries.
“It was awesome,” Prescott said of what Peters was able to do on Sunday. “A guy who hadn’t played a good tackle since 2005, but a veteran, a golden jacket veteran. You have no worries when he arrives, and wherever he has to substitute and do his job, you know his standards and expectations are at the highest and he will give his all.
“…He contributed so much to this team. …Coming in at the right tackle on that last drive, he did exactly what he needed to do by giving me time and letting me take opportunities on the pitch. Hell of a player, hell of a tackle – right or left.”
At best, the nine-time Pro Bowler was brought in to provide depth/assurance to left tackle for the Cowboys, but his three months in Dallas were painted with demands to do more, and that includes left guard duty earlier in the 2022 season.
There are many who don’t understand the level of difficulty required to pull off such a feat (the inversion field is what it’s called, and it’s incredibly difficult even with weeks of practice, let alone at all) , and so what Peters did on The Sunday probably won’t really be absorbed by the masses.
But those who know, know.
“It shows what kind of player he is,” first-round rookie pick Tyler Smith said. “Since he got here, he’s taught me so much about left tackle and left guard, in general, and being able to see him go out there – whatever the situation is – and step up big and still show up, “It’s a testament to the type of player he is. He’s a real Hall of Fame dude. That’s rare.”
“To be able to do that, with no training reps, no idea what’s going on; and to go out there on the winning drive and lock things down, and do your job at the highest level, there’s no of words. “
So what exactly was going through Peters’ mind when he took the shoulder hit on the sideline? Well, he admits he was already planning to approach the coaching staff to offer/suggest to try him at the right tackle, but they beat him to it.
“I know I can stay in front of people,” he said, making the sonic pedestrian extremely difficult. “And after Dak got hit and threw that interception, I was like, ‘Man, I gotta go out there and try to help us win. That’s what I thought but, before I could turn around, [offensive line coach Joe Philbin] was like, ‘You’re going in.’
“He must have read my mind.”
Unfortunately, Steele may miss a lot of time, but the Cowboys are awaiting more testing to determine if that will be the case.
If so, is Peters ready… now… to eventually start in this position?
“Maybe I should [be],” he said.
And with the return of Tyron Smith looming, the Cowboys offensive line (the one that was already dominant with Steele at right tackle, the veteran himself having played very well in 2022), could find himself putting three Hall of Famers in front of Prescott.
Talk about falling up.