Cowboys make surprising bye week move with midseason firing of assistant coach

The Cowboys didn’t get as crazy as the Cleveland Browns did on Monday, but they did pull off a coaching firing of their own. 

The team has decided to cut ties with offensive line coach Paul Alexander. It’s a somewhat surprising move for the Cowboys, considering that Alexander was just hired in January and had been with the team for a total of only seven games. 

The move comes as the Cowboys get ready to prepare for the second half of their season. The team had a bye in Week 8 and it seems that coach Jason Garrett used that free time to evaluate his coaching staff.  

“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 of the firing in a statement. “We have great respect and admiration for Paul and what he has accomplished in a very successful career in the NFL.”

With Alexander out, the Cowboys are going to replace him with assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo. During his 10-year playing career, Colombo actually spent five and a half seasons as a member of the Cowboys offensive line. Since this will be Colombo’s first big-time coaching job, the Cowboys are bringing in some reinforcements to help him: The team has hired former Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck to advise Colombo. 

“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,” Garrett said. 

As for Alexander, he was hired by Dallas in January after spending the first 24 years of his coaching career in Cincinnati. The Bengals let him walk after his contract expired following the 2017 season. In a twist, the Cowboys were in need of an offensive line coach earlier this year because they let they got rid of their offensive line coach, Frank Pollack. Pollack ended up taking Alexander’s old job in Cincinnati. 

Under Alexander’s watch, the Cowboys had some serious trouble in pass protection. The Cowboys are on pace to give up 52.5 sacks this year, which has left Dak Prescott running for his life. To put that number in perspective, Prescott was sacked just 25 (2016) and 32 (2017) times during his first two seasons as a starter.

Of course, Alexander also had to deal with some unforeseen circumstances in the form of the illness to Travis Frederick. The All-Pro center was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in August and hasn’t played at all this season.  

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