IRVING, Texas – Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan offered some kind words Thursday for the people helping him and head coach Jason Garrett in game planning, which includes quarterback Tony Romo.
Callahan said Romo has a lot of input in what will transpire offensively and that Romo needs to feel good about the plays that are called. This comes after an offseason in which owner/general manager Jerry Jones emphasized an increased role in game planning this year for the franchise quarterback.
"If he has a problem, he can fix it and knows what the solutions are," Callahan said of Romo. "I mean, his value is underestimated, because he has the experience of playing 10 years in this league and knows coverages and knows defenses and understands concepts. He has a great impact."
The structure of the game plan has changed a bit, according to Callahan. He said the group tries to work ahead more to give Romo as much information as possible, and as early as possible, so he can provide feedback and see if he's on the same page as everyone.
"As we wind down into preparation, he's really sunk his teeth into the preparation well and the dialogue has been ongoing," Callahan said. "It's been really positive. We're really excited about that."
Callahan's new role as the play-caller means added time planning his moves, as he continues to emphasize that game planning is a collaborative effort. He credits the coaches around him for helping make the transition as smooth as possible.
More specifically, he said he couldn't do his job without the help of quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who's helped Romo mature at his position since 2007. Wilson helps relay the signals to the quarterbacks with Callahan in the booth.
Callahan also credited wide receivers coach Derek Dooley for understanding the trends of the game and tight ends coach Wes Phillips for his knowledge in the passing game. Callahan also made sure to praise assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who may need to take the first word off his job title soon.
"You kind of blend in Frank Pollack, who really is handling the majority of the offensive line coaching in the room and on the field, and I'm basically becoming more like his assistant just helping him," Callahan said. "We've kind of reversed roles in some sense. Frank is an outstanding young coach in this league and he's headed for a great career. I know he's really impacted a lot of the things we're doing now."
Here are some other notes from Callahan:
- Callahan thinks sitting in the booth can help prevent delay of games and ensure things happen quickly, as he gets a better look at the entire field and isn't caught up in all the emotions on the sideline. The quarterbacks' wristbands should also help in that regard, since they don't have to memorize the whole call coming through the helmet.
"To try to speed line the communication, it's helped in that regard," Callahan said. "I like the calm of the booth that I can sit and I can watch and I can see where the play ended. I can already get my mind set on the next down and distance increment and forward the call on. I can put the next series together in my mind."
- Veteran guard Brian Waters is back on the field, and Callahan said he can already see the traits that make Waters special as he gets himself back in shape. He worked the individual periods the last two days. "Within that, we did some competitive drills against the defensive line, and you could see all the explosiveness and strength that a Pro Bowl-caliber guard has," Callahan said.
- The team will continue to go day-to-day seeing how Waters feels and seeing how much he can handle before deciding when he'll get into the game, according to Callahan. Right now, the focus is on getting him with the strength and conditioning staff.
- Both Ryan Cook and Nate Livings weren't healthy enough to start this season after playing the majority of last year. Rather than feeling a sense of disappointment about the duo, Callahan said he loves those guys and appreciated their commitment last year. He said Cook's contributions starting throughout the year and playing quickly in the opener sometimes goes unrecognized.
"I feel bad for those guys that they're not with us, especially Nate Livings," Callahan said. "If there's anybody that works hard or harder than a lot of guys, it's Nate Livings. In the offseason, coming in here early in the morning, he was here at 7:30, 7 working out. Of course, that's January and February and March when nobody's around. He's getting better, he's getting work, and all of a sudden this thing happens to his knee. It's just disheartening in a lot of ways."