A couple months after he was relieved of his duties as offensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Paul Alexander did something that I would’ve advised against, but also something that I would’ve done if I was in his shoes.
He went online.
Alexander’s Twitter account is less than a year old, but it’s honestly one of the better accounts in comparison to the majority of former offensive linemen Twitter. Most of the content pertains to offensive line teaching tape and general football wisdom from his coaching days.
If you want to classify this tweet of his from yesterday during the Bears and Lions’ Thanksgiving game as coaching wisdom, no one is stopping you. But it smells an awful lot like a subtweet about a couple of quarterbacks.
TRUTH. When the QB stinks, and the COACH blames everyone else on offense to “protect” his confidence .... the COACH loses the TEAM. I’ve seen it so many times. Just tell it like it is .... or say nothing.— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) November 28, 2019
For starters, Alexander is clearly taking shots at much-maligned quarterback Mitchell Trubisky of the Bears. Despite yesterday’s win, Trubisky is having a terrible 2019 season and is proving that he shouldn’t be the future of any franchise, let alone the Bears. Due to his struggles, he’s the face of the most intriguing (should be) QB controversy in the NFL and there were reports that he requested the TVs in the Bears’ stadium to be turned off so he wouldn’t have to hear criticisms directed towards him and the team.
Clearly, Trubisky’s confidence has been tested this season, but this isn’t anything ground-breaking, especially from Alexander’s perspective.
Alexander was with the Bengals for a long, long time. From 1994 to 2017, the quarterback who started the most games for Cincinnati in that timeframe was none other than Andy Dalton.
Even the casual Bears fan will tell you that Dalton is the better quarterback than Trubisky, but a fragile sense of confidence surely could be shared between both passers. Dalton’s reputation in primetime and postseason games speak for itself and his limitations that weren’t masked by an all-star supporting cast painted him as an average player at the position.
Dalton is who he is, but as the quarterback with the ownership’s backing, then head coach Marvin Lewis did his best to prop him up through the good times and bad.
Did Alexander notice what’s happening in Chicago now in his final years with Cincinnati? The end of Lewis’ tenure was filled with losing and Dalton regressing from his acclaimed 2015 campaign. Lewis perhaps never truly lost the team, but when the problem was clearly the quarterback in the most pressing times under the lights, just how much was Dalton coddled by Lewis? And how much did that resonate with the rest of the team negatively?
As the offensive line coach, Alexander had a heavy hand in that unit’s downturn after 2015. But when the quarterback is getting sacked more and more, the OL coach may not feel that blame should be directed towards him and his linemen. After all, pressures are a quarterback stat.
To this day, no position group for the Bengals has seen more personnel turnover in the last few years than the offensive line, but the quarterback hasn’t changed and the problems remain.
Dalton was far from the worst quarterback Alexander saw in his time with the Bengals. He could’ve seen this happening with Akili Smith, David Klingler, or even Carson Palmer for a short time. With that said, Dalton is the guy that fits the bill when it comes to this specific issue, and you have to wonder how much Lewis’ defensiveness towards his poor play was felt by the rest of the locker room.