Week 9 Players To Watch: Cowboys vs. Titans
For the record, Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith said he doesn’t believe his disappointing play or that of the offensive line had anything do with position coach Paul Alexander getting fired during the bye week and replaced by top assistant Marc Colombo.
“Not at all,” he said. “Something like that happens, it’s not really nobody’s fault. Nobody is really in control of something like that. We don’t really pay too much attention to it. Focus on what we can control.”
What’s also true is that nobody has symbolized the decline in play of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line under Alexander more than Smith, a former All-Pro and perennial Pro Bowler whose $17.5 million cap hit is the highest on the team.
By all accounts, Smith is as healthy as he has been in years after struggling with back and leg injuries the past two seasons.
But he has had problems with outside pressure and has been called for four penalties this season, including two holding calls.
His uncharacteristic decline in play can partly be contributed to the new techniques implemented by Alexander that the line has struggled with, including Smith.
He acknowledges he needs to play better and says he needs to clean up to his techniques. He is looking forward to going back to the techniques he used in the past with Colombo now in control.
“For me, I’m a guy that’s hard on himself,” Smith said. “I feel like I can always do better. I’m not too happy with myself with the way I’ve been playing. There are things I got to get fixed. So I can be the best for my teammates. For me, it’s me cleaning up my technique. That is about it.”
The presence of veteran offensive line coach Hudson Houck as an advisor to Columbo should help. Houck was his first offensive line coach as a rookie in 2011.