The Dallas Cowboys have made their first major hire to fill a vacancy on the coaching staff.
The Dallas Cowboys are hiring Paul Alexander as their offensive line coach, source said. He spent the last 23 seasons coaching the offensive line in Cincinnati. He replaces Frank Pollack, who was fired after the season.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) January 15, 2018
This move is being met with some markedly mixed reactions. One aspect that is rather peculiar is that Alexander was available because the Bengals parted ways with him in order to hire - Frank Pollack. So in essence the two teams just swapped coaches. It looks very much like the kind of sticking with known quantities that the NFL is often criticized for. There are certainly some question marks about just what Alexander brings to the table.
Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground...— Joey Ickes (@JoeyIckes) January 15, 2018
They've been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span...
That's the OL Coach DAL just hired.
More than the record of his former team, there are also some questions about just what Alexander’s hire will mean for the Cowboys’ offense. He is not seen as a zone blocking coach, and zone has been the preferred scheme in Dallas during the Jason Garrett years. Does this indicate that the team is going to change their style, and how will that impact the line?
Alexander certainly has some talent to work with, but last season saw the Cowboys struggle in replacing two of the five starters from 2016. Now, with questions about who will be the left guard this year since Jonathan Cooper is a free agent as well as needing to find a better answer at swing tackle, there is certainly a risk of issues again. That is hardly something you want with a quarterback who also is trying to overcome an apparent case of shell shock after the midseason breakdowns in pass protection.
On the plus side, it does look like the team at least is not going to just promote a bunch of untried candidates from within the team. It remains to see if Marc Colombo will continue in his role as assistant offensive line coach, but that could mitigate the transition if he is retained.
One former player under Anderson, Willie Anderson (no relation), gave this response when asked about the things Paul teaches (which are seen as different than most of the rest of the NFL).
We don’t really know just what the plan is for the Cowboy’s offensive line in 2018. The team clearly felt it was time for a change, but whether this was the right hire remains to be seen.