Can the Dallas Cowboys' replacement left tackle hold up Sunday night against one of the best pass rushes in the NFL?
Bell replaced Chaz Green at left tackle last week after the latter gave up six sacks and a bevy of pressures with no resistance. Bell performed little better, getting burned as well. Bell last started a game back in 2015 for the Tennessee Titans. Before that, he was mostly a turnstile with the Carolina Panthers in 56 starts.
Getting thrust into the spotlight in Dallas against Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, etc. will be a challenge for Bell. The 28-year-old said earlier this week if he gets beat, he's going to get beat playing his game.
"Just coming off the ball and getting to the junction point, just being physical with the guy and using hands and just getting a strike down," Bell said, via ESPN.com. "Where I get in trouble is when I play complacent and timid. I just got to go out and cut it loose. If I get beat, just know this: I'm going to get beat my [expletive] way. If I lose, I'm going to lose my way."
Missing Smith is a massive blow in a pivotal division game for the Cowboys, who at 5-4 are teetering on the edge of playoff contention in the NFC. No single player on the roster can come close to replacing Smith. Dallas must offer Bell more help on the edge than they gave Green last week -- which was basically none.
"I just think you try to continue to lift those guys up and let them know that we believe in them no matter what and that as a group we can be successful," center Travis Frederick said. "I think that you want to make them know or let them know that last week isn't this week. Every week is a new week and you have a new opportunity to be successful."
If Bell doesn't get help, Dak Prescott, who was hit a career-high 10 times and pressured on 36.8 percent of dropbacks against the Falcons, doesn't stand a chance to move the ball against Philly's D-line.