Cowboys fire offensive line coach Alexander

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys have parted ways with offensive line coach Paul Alexander and promoted Marc Colombo to the position.

Alexander was named the offensive line coach in the offseason after a 24-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, replacing Frank Pollack, who replaced Alexander in Cincinnati. Colombo has been the assistant offensive line coach since 2016 after a 10-year career as a player, including six with the Cowboys, five as the starting right tackle.

The Cowboys also brought in former offensive line coach Hudson Houck as a senior assistant. He had two stints as the Cowboys’ offensive line coach from 1993 to 2001 and from 2008 to 2011.

It is the first in-season move Jason Garrett has made on his coaching staff since taking over full time in 2011.

“While approaching the midpoint of the season, and going through an overall evaluation of our entire operation during the bye week, we felt that this move would serve the best interests of our team moving forward,” Garrett said in a statement from the team. “We have great respect and admiration for Paul and what he has accomplished in a very successful career in the NFL. These are not easy decisions to make at any time of the year, but we will move ahead with the utmost confidence in what Marc Colombo and Hudson Houck will bring to our team in their new roles.”

Alexander came to the Cowboys with a strong reputation as a teacher and inherited a line that included three Pro Bowlers — Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. He also had an experienced right tackle, La’el Collins, and a second-round pick at left guard, Connor Williams. Frederick is on injured reserve after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The Cowboys have been able to run the ball fine in the first seven weeks of the season, averaging 136.9 yards per game on the ground, good for fourth in the NFL, but the pass protection has not been good enough. Dak Prescott has been sacked 23 times. He was sacked 25 times as a rookie and 32 times last season.

Smith has not played as well as he had in the past and Collins has been flagged a team-high seven times for penalties. Alexander uses a different pass-protection technique than most line coaches and some believe that has played a part in the pass-protection issues.

Colombo started 72 games in his time with the Cowboys at right tackle after joining the team in 2005 after injuries led to his release from the Chicago Bears. In 2014, he rejoined the organization in the scouting department before moving to the coaching staff in 2015.

He was considered for the job after Pollack was let go, but Garrett opted for the more experienced Alexander.

The Cowboys just had their bye week and will return to work Wednesday, with their first practice Thursday ahead of their Nov. 5 game against the Tennessee Titans.

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