IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys suffered their first loss of the offseason when Bill Callahan decided to join the Washington Redskins’ staff as offensive line coach.
It’s a loss, but not a surprise. Callahan was upset when he had the playcalling duties taken away from him 2014. He was not allowed to talk to the Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Ravens about their offensive coordinator gigs. He stewed over that, but went about his work, and the Cowboys' offensive line flourished.
For that Callahan deserves one of those game balls, attaboy t-shirts, or maybe the boxing gloves or a hammer Jason Garrett likes to hand out after a Cowboys win.
But he doesn’t need a spot reserved in the Ring of Honor.
Reaction to Callahan's departure has ranged from "meh," to "OMG," and slightly exaggerated forms of that lingo filled with cuss words. Some fans were upset he chose the Redskins. Why? Was he supposed to take less money because they play in the NFC East? No. Praise has been heaped on Callahan from the national media. The Redskins have been given their fair share of praise, too, but they always seem to do well in the offseason.
The Cowboys lost a good coach in Callahan. They will add a good coach in Frank Pollack to replace him.
But the Cowboys did not lose Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick or Zack Martin, their three first-round picks over the past four years, who helped Callahan do such a good job. They don't lose Ronald Leary either. Maybe they lose Doug Free and/or Jermey Parnell in free agency. Heck, just last week Callahan said Parnell can start for any team in the NFL. Maybe the Redskins will sign him now that Callahan is there.
In 2012, the Cowboys had Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau as their starting guards, and Ryan Cook (for 11 games) as their starting center. Callahan was the coach then, and I don’t remember the hosannas thrown his way after the Cowboys averaged 3.6 yards per carry and saw Tony Romo get sacked 36 times during their 8-8 finish.
In 2013, the Cowboys added Frederick in the first round and put Leary in the starting lineup. They averaged 4.5 yards per carry, and Romo was sacked 35 times in 15 games. They were better.
In 2014, they drafted Martin in the first round and had Leary and Frederick starting their second seasons, and Smith and Free entrenched at tackle. DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing, they averaged 4.5 yards per carry and Romo was sacked 29 times in 15 games. They were even better.
I don’t mean to diminish the job Callahan did, but coaches are better when they have better players. That’s just how it works.