Callahan’s role with the Cowboys offense
IRVING, Texas — Offensive coordinator was one of the titles given to offensive line coach Bill Callahan when he was added to the Cowboys’ coaching staff in January.
Like all offensive coordinators, he will have a say in the offensive game plan. But unlike many offensive coordinators, Callahan won’t be calling plays from the sidelines during games. That duty still rests in the hands of head coach Jason Garrett.
Instead, Callahan will direct the offensive line, assist Garrett on the game plan during the week and make suggestions on the sidelines when needed. If the two coaches work well together, the offense should be back among the best in the league. The Cowboys finished 11th in total offense last season (375.5 yards per game), seventh in 2010 (364.2) and second in 2009 (399.4).
Judging by Callahan’s comments on Thursday, Garrett has made the transition to a new coaching staff an easy one. The former Oakland Raiders and Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach says Garrett has been a “great listener” and “wide open” to alternative ideas.
“I do respect his ability to call plays,” Callahan said Thursday. “He’s had a great knack for it. He’s had offenses that have been close to being on top of the league. I think the work relationship has been terrific and I only see it getting stronger and better as we move along.”
Callahan has also had success calling plays. Before becoming head coach in Oakland, Callahan was offensive coordinator for the Raiders from 1998-2001. He carried on play-calling duties as head coach and the team continued to have one of the top passing attacks in the league, highlighted by a trip to the Super Bowl in 2003.
Callahan will focus on coordinating the Cowboys’ run game, something he did recently for the New York Jets. In his four seasons in that capacity, the Jets ranked in the top 10 in rushing three times, including 2009 when Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Shonn Greene and Tony Richardson helped New York lead the NFL with 172.2 rushing yards per game.
Listening as Callahan explained his sideline duties, it quickly became obvious that he’ll be wearing several hats. The 55-year-old said he will be available to assist with series and clock management, recommending protections or making suggestions in situations that involve the red zone, short yardage, goal line or two-minute drill.
“It’s been fantastic in terms of preparation and how we see the game and how we see it unfolding on game day,” Callahan said. “Hopefully it will all work out. I’m going try to do the best I can to help him in any capacity.
“I’ve got enough experience in my background to assist where he needs help. I will say this, a lot of that’s done during the game plan week. That’s where I see I can really contribute and help the staff during the course of the week. And then if you’re well-prepared in your preparation, I think it just unfolds on game day. You’re ready to make those crucial calls.”
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