On Monday word materialized that the Cowboys were hiring Paul Alexander to serve as their new offensive line coach.
Alexander replaces Frank Pollack who left for the same job in Cincinnati, coincidentally the job Alexander is leaving. A switch-a-roo is always fun.
Much was made in the confines of Cowboys social media about Alexander’s proclivity to run a power blocking scheme as opposed to the zone blocking scheme that’s been run in Dallas for some time. It’s not an issue worth getting caught up over.
I think this is important. Just because Alexander has coached primarily PBS doesn't mean he will totally change DAL into a singularly PBS team. Will still have a lot of elements of PBS and ZBS from what I gather about PA. https://t.co/cY4f99yb2i— John Owning (@JohnOwning) January 15, 2018
However you feel about Paul Alexander, he’s the new Cowboys offensive line coach. Living in that reality, the man needs a swing tackle because last season the team mentally broke the one they already had.
Dallas could look to the draft for their backup tackle, but they’d be wise to look in free agency for a savvy veteran. Looking at Paul Alexander’s old team in the Cincinnati Bengals, there’s a candidate that makes some sense considering the relationship - Andre Smith.
Smith isn’t super special, but he’s a veteran swing tackle and will be a free agent this offseason.
Per PFF, of the 14 total pressures allowed by the Bengals OL, OT Andre Smith and Cedric Ogbuehi allowed five and six total pressures respectively. Smith allowed five hurries and Ogbuehi allowed two sacks and four hurries— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 11, 2017
If you think about how the Cowboys operate, this move has Dallas written all over it. Smith is a veteran swing tackle (which they need), comes from a power five conference school (Alabama), and he’s a former first-round pick (sixth overall in 2009).
Andre was a fine offensive lineman for the Bengals early in his career, but as time wore on the romance faded a bit. He spent a year with the Minnesota Vikings and Mike Zimmer in 2016, but ultimately returned to Cincinnati last season where the Bengals experimented with him at guard.
It was their swing tackle last season that the Cowboys tried to make a guard in 2017, why not just reverse course and turn a guard into a swing tackle?! In all seriousness, Smith ended up getting time at right tackle last season, and he can play both sides.
Quotes of the day from Bengals OL coach Paul Alexander on difficulty of Andre Smith rotating between RT & LT: “He gets paid a lot of money.”— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) October 4, 2017
Andre Smith isn’t necessarily the best option for the Dallas Cowboys as a swing tackle this offseason. But if history is any indicator, and if they value their new offensive line coach’s relationship with him, he is at the very least an option that makes a lot of sense.