FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have made plenty of investments over the last few years to create one of the best offensive lines in football.
After seven games this year, the line has not met its lofty expectations. And with that, comes a change.
The Cowboys fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander, less than halfway into his first season with the team.
The team is promoting Marc Colombo, a former offensive tackle for the Cowboys who has spent the last four seasons on the staff. This year, Colombo entered the season as the assistant offensive line coach.
The team is also bringing in former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to be an advisory consultant for Colombo and the offensive line.
"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," head coach Jason Garrett said. "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."
Houck was the Cowboys' offensive line coach from 1993-2001 and then again on a second stint from 2008-2011. Overall, Houck has coached 29 seasons in the NFL.
Alexander is certainly a veteran to the coaching rank as well, having spent 27 previous seasons with the Bengals.
The Cowboys suffered a major loss before the season when Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disease that attacks the nervous system. He was recently placed on IR and could only return in December. It's likely he is out for the entire season.
But while Frederick is a four-time Pro Bowler and former first-round pick, center Joe Looney has filled in nicely in the middle. However, despite having first-round picks Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, second-round rookie Connor Williams and right tackle La'el Collins, who was a first-round talent back in 2015, the line has struggled to provide some consistency, especially in the passing game.
Dak Prescott has already been sacked 23 times, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. Prescott has sacked 32 times last year and just 25 as a rookie in 2016.
The Cowboys rank 29th in passing at 183.1 yards per game, but rank fourth in the NFL in rushing at 136.9.
Last week at Washington, the Cowboys had just 73 total rushing yards, including 33 for Ezekiel Elliott.