IRVING, Texas – Offensive line coach Bill Callahan isn't among the mass of Cowboys pundits suggesting a first-round pick spent on an offensive lineman is an absolute necessity.
Callahan said Wednesday the line still has a long way to go, but he could see development throughout the season and he's content with the players he's working with, despite finishing 31st in the league in rushing.
"I like the guys that I have, so anything else in addition to, that's a bonus," Callahan said. "But the guys that I have, you walk into that room and you get motivated by their passion, by their toughness and what they go through on a daily basis."
The offense struggled to run all season and quarterback Tony Romo was forced to throw to get the ball down the field. When the Cowboys did get toward the end zone, they finished 20th in the league in red zone scoring percentage and 27th in the league in rushing touchdowns.
Callahan turned the film back on and noted that sometimes he can analyze in a different manner after the season, since he's looking at the tape with a fresh set of eyes. He admits he'll often see a play and notice it's not blocked exactly the way it should be.
"Well, that particular player, he might have had a toe injury or knee injury that he's working through or shoulder injury he's going through, so you've got to take that into account," Callahan said. "You watch these guys go on the field day to day and do what they do and the manner that their body's in, in terms of injury. I love these guys. I just want to keep coaching them, and whatever we add to our team, we add, but I love the group that I've got right now."
Despite the admiration for his linemen, Callahan said he remains highly critical when watching film. With two more hours of sleep a night, it's obvious to note that the line can get better in every area.
He wants the team to perform better in the running game, and ideally he'd like the amount of attempts to increase to take the pressure off Romo and the passing game. But he doesn't want to diminish how the group developed as the season progressed.
"That's hard to justify with not making the playoffs and having the rankings that we have, and I understand that," Callahan said. "But I would tell you in terms of technique football, which is everything in line play, the little idiosyncrasies that you have to execute and perform are so huge. I think we're getting there. I don't think we're there yet. But, I see improvement through the course of last season. I'm encouraged by that."