Cowboys OC Callahan responds to Gruden’s comments
IRVING, Texas — During Monday night’s game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden explained how Bill Callahan became fond of the passing game in Oakland after Gruden left.
“I don’t think he ran the ball one time,” said Gruden, an ESPN Monday Night Football analyst. “He says, ‘Gruden, why do you want me to run it?’ He says, ‘Everything is a two or one yard gain. Let’s throw it every snap.'”
Callahan, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive play-caller, said Thursday that he doesn’t agree with those comments.
“I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t make that statement,” Callahan said. “I’m never going to make that statement. We want to run the football. We want to do that. We are just saying that [there] is another way to do it. A lot of people throw bubble screens, throw quick screens on the perimeter. That’s very much run-like in a lot of different ways.
“There are all types of ways to move the ball and the more you can do, the more you put pressure on the defense. It gives them more things to defend. We are moving in that area in our game, trying to mix it up and use all those aspects and elements.”
Callahan also denied that the Raiders were “pass-happy” when he was in Oakland. Callahan was the offensive coordinator from 1998-2001 and head coach in 2002 and 2003. Gruden called pass plays when he was head coach and Marc Trestman held that responsibility when Callahan was head coach. Callahan was always in charge of calling run plays.
“We led the league in rushing in 2000,” Callahan said. “We weren’t pass-happy. Even the year we went to the Super Bowl, we threw it over 60 times [in a game]. But we ran it over 60 times in a game [too].”
In the final week of the 2002 season, the Raiders ran exactly 60 times for 280 yards. Charlie Garner carried 29 times, Tyrone Wheatley 17, Zack Crockett 11 and Rich Gannon three during a 24-0 victory over the Chiefs.
Can you imagine this Cowboys team rushing 60 times in a game?
The Cowboys are averaging 62 yards per game on the ground this season, ranking them 26th in the NFL in that category.
Callahan said the team is “working diligently” to establish a run game, however, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys plan on forcing run plays if opponents are giving them favorable matchups in other areas.
“It may take 40 passes, it may take 40 runs,” Callahan said. “We’ll do whatever we have to do to win the game.”
Raiders rushing game during Callahan’s time on staff:
1998: 16th in the NFL; 107.9 yards per game.
1999: 3rd; 130.3 yards per game.
2000: 1st; 154.4 yards per game.
2001: 24th; 103.4 yards per game.
2002: 18th; 110.1 yards per game.
2003: 16th; 113.9 yards per game.
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