IRVING, Texas – Some people would be nervous about calling plays in the NFL for the first time in 10 years. Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan doesn’t appear to be one of them.
Callahan said he looks forward to the new opportunity as a play-caller and is much more excited than nervous about the addition to his workload for the upcoming season.
“Excited would be the word, would be the adjective, that I would use,” Callahan said. “I’m really excited. Anxious now. I wish we could continue working like we’ve been here, because the situation coach [Jason Garrett] has put us in has been tremendous.”
The Cowboys used Organized Team Activities and minicamp to get their players prepared for training camp. That time also allowed the coaches to get a sense of how the communication would go between Callahan, Garrett, quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and the quarterbacks.
Callahan said last week that he’d likely be sitting up in the booth during games.
“We’ve had a lot of play-it-out scenarios, we’ve had two-minute, we’ve had four-minute, we’ve had red zone play-it-out, we have team blitz play-it-out,” Callahan said, “so we’ve been in every possible scenario you could be in situationally, and we’ve called the game live on the field. That communication process has really gotten more comfortable for me, Wade and the quarterback.”
Callahan emphasized that while he’s honored to add on play-calling duties this season, he’s only a part of the Cowboys and Garrett’s offense.
The play-calling will involve “a collective effort across the board,” according to Callahan, who will be calling plays for the first time in the NFL since he left Oakland after the 2003 season, and the first time overall since leaving Nebraska as head coach in 2007.
“I’ve always taken each situation that I’ve been in and tried to do the best I can,” Callahan said. “If there was an opportunity to help, and I told Jason, if there’s any opportunity I can help serve you as a coordinator, if I can call plays, if I can take something off your plate … then that’s great.”
Callahan has traditionally been tied to the West Coast offense from his time in Oakland, but he’s now been in the Cowboys’ organization for a year and isn’t concerned that the coaches will be on different pages.
He had familiarity with the digit system used by the Cowboys going back to his days with the Jets and then-offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Callahan said he’s been in the digit system now for five years and is familiar and comfortable with how it works.
“It would be unique if you were coming in and you didn’t have any idea of what this system was and you were completely new to it and foreign to it, but that’s not the case,” he said. “Again, like I say, it’s our system, and I’m a part of this. I’m fortunate to be a part of this and really proud of what we’ve done here.”