Paul Alexander is in his 22nd consecutive season as Bengals offensive line coach, and he is also the team’s assistant head coach, having added that designation in 2003, when Marvin Lewis took over as head coach. Alexander has 23 seasons overall with Cincinnati, having opened his tenure in 1994 with one season as tight ends coach. Alexander’s 23 seasons as a position coach are second-most in Bengals history, behind only Jim Anderson, who logged 29 seasons (1984-2012) as running backs coach.
Alexander is the only current Bengals assistant with an uninterrupted tenure with the team that predates Marvin Lewis’ hiring. As the Bengals have reached the playoffs each of the last five years, Alexander’s lines have helped keep QB Andy Dalton among the NFL’s bestprotected passers. In 2015 Cincinnati finished the season tied for eighth in fewest sacks allowed (32), and the Bengals were tied for sixth (20 sacks allowed) through Week 13, the last week in which Dalton fully played before being sidelined with a thumb fracture.
The line backed Dalton for a 106.3 season passer rating, which was a Bengals record, and Dalton ranked first in the AFC and second in the NFL. OT Andrew Whitworth, who has played his full career under Alexander, was a firstteam selection on the prestigious Associated Press All-Pro team and was selected to the Pro Bowl in the initial voting. The Bengals finished seventh in the NFL in scoring (26.2 points per game) and also seventh in yards per play (5.7). In 2014, the Bengals ranked third in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed (23) and in least sack yardage allowed (130). The line helped power a rushing game that averaged 4.4 yards per carry, the Bengals’ best figure since 2000.
The Bengals have been in the NFL’s top 10 in fewest sacks allowed in five of the last six seasons, and twice previous to that, Alexander’s lines led the team to franchise records for fewest sacks allowed. The 2005 team posted a franchise record of 21 in the division championship season of 2005, and that mark was bettered in 2007, with only 17 sacks surrendered.
Alexander lines have supported a 1000-yard individual rushing season 14 times, including 1124 yards (with a 5.1 per-carry average) for rookie Jeremy Hill in the 2014 season. Other Bengals backs to post 1000-yard years behind an Alexander line have been Corey Dillon (six times), Rudi Johnson (three times), Cedric Benson (three times) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (once).
The Bengals ranked sixth in the NFL in 2014 in rushing yards per game (134.2). On Oct. 22, 2000, Alexander’s line shared the glory of a 278-yard rushing game by Corey Dillon vs. Denver. It was an NFL record at the time, and it still stands fourth in league annals entering the 2016 season. The Bengals’ 407 total rushing yards in that game ranks as the fifth-highest single-game total in NFL history, and as the most rushing yards in 65 years. The last team to top it was the N.Y. Giants, who gained 423 against Baltimore in 1950.
Alexander began his NFL coaching career in 1992 as tight ends coach of the N.Y. Jets, under head coach Bruce Coslet. In the college ranks, he coached under Joe Paterno at Penn State and Bo Schembechler at Michigan. Alexander’s birthdate is Feb. 12, 1960. He’s a native of Rochester, N.Y., where he attended Cardinal Mooney High School. He played football and was an Academic All-American at Cortland State (N.Y.), and he holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Penn State. In 2012, he was inducted into the Cortland State Athletic Hall of Fame. Off the field, he is actively involved with the Boy Scouts and high school linemen camps. Alexander is also a pianist, and in 2011 he authored a well-received book — “Perform” — linking the mentality and training techniques of top athletes and musicians. Paul and his wife, Kathy, have three daughters — Mary Beth, Carolyn and Emily. Playing and
coaching history: 1979-81—Played offensive tackle, Cortland State. 1983-84—Graduate assistant, Penn State. 1985-86— Graduate assistant, Michigan. 1987-91—Assistant coach (AC), Central Michigan. 1992-93—AC, N.Y. Jets. 1994-2002—AC, Cincinnati Bengals. 2003-present— Assistant head coach/offensive line coach, Bengals.
A good 17 years before Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu got pranked in the first round of last year's draft, Paul Alexander pulled off a pretty good one during his first draft as the Bengals offensive line coach.
Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander is arriving at the NFL Scouting Combine two days early on Monday, but it won't be to scout prospective big men.