Dallas Cowboys rejuvenated offensive line awaits flawed Titans front
By Brad Austin
The rejuvenated Dallas Cowboys offensive line will face off against a flawed Tennessee Titans front in their first test under new leadership.
A midseason release of a position coach normally won’t move the needle in the excitement department. However, the Dallas Cowboys terminating new offensive line coach Paul Alexander this week was a significant correction.
After 24 years coaching NFL veteran linemen, Alexander foolishly felt the need to alter the techniques of some of the most accomplished blockers in football. The last few weeks commentators on the Cowboys main site eluded to veteran linemen expressing strong displeasure with his alterations and lax mentality.
Blame falling on coaching regression makes complete sense. Solid pass protectors like Tyron Smith and La’el Collins have shockingly looked like turnstiles this year. Taking over for Alexander is Cowboys assistant and former offensive tackle Marc Colombo. His nasty, relentless playing style while wearing the star is sure to add fire.
Helping the less experienced coach manage the load is legendary Cowboys OL coach Hudson Houck. This balanced mix of edge and experience should pay big dividends.
FLAWED FRONT FOR FIRST TEST
Dallas drew a lucky straw with the Titans defensive front as the first test of their new offensive line leadership. A week later against the Eagles would’ve been a daunting debut.
The Cowboys currently rank 24th in sacks allowed (23). Thankfully they’ll be facing a watered down Titans pass rush with only 15 sacks (27th). Only a season ago Tennessee finished 5th with a whopping 43 sacks. The dramatic drop off is a gift.
As for rushing defense, the Titans rank 14th allowing 112.3 rushing yards per game. While they are above average, four of seven past Dallas opponents allow under 100 yards rushing per game and each of them were losses. The Cowboys won all three games against defenses that surrender over 100 yards.
Another interesting stat is Tennessee’s rushing first down percentage. Of 131 first downs their defense allowed, 46 came on the ground. This 35.11 percent rushing first down percentage ranks second to worst in the NFL.
In summation, the Titans are dreadful rushing the passer. Their run defense is shaky enough for a good running team to exploit, like the two games allowing over 140 rush yards. And they struggle stopping teams from grounding out first downs.
This Tennessee Titans match-up is ideal for the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive line and new coaching dynamic to prove the nonsense is over and the big boys are ready to eat again.