IRVING, Texas – Count me in as one of those people that feel that the switch to Bill Callahan as the primary play caller as a positive move for the 2013 season.
Under Jason Garrett, from the 20 to 20, this was one of the most successful offenses in the league, but where it had its biggest issues was inside the red zone where it ranked in the back half. The most alarming stat was how this offense was ranked 27th in the league when faced with goal-to-go. There were plenty of times during these situations where execution was poor by the players and it left Garrett with no choice to try and search for a play to compensate for his lack of confidence.
The numbers over the years will tell you that Garrett was not a poor play caller, but I honestly believe that where Callahan will make a bigger difference is how this offense finishes drives. As good as Dan Bailey is kicking field goals, you don't want him doing it all day. There are too many weapons on this offense for this team to be ranked near the bottom when it comes to red zone or goal-to-go situations. Even in the OTAs and minicamp practices, Callahan has tried to develop a toughness with his blockers including the tight ends, who I thought struggled some last year at the point of attack.
I believe that the biggest difference between Callahan and Garrett as a play caller is that Callahan will bring a certain toughness to his play calling. He is more likely to stick with things that are working and be consistent about calling the game that way. With Callahan it will not be about how many plays but how will you run the plays you have for that week. He understands the strengths and weaknesses of this offensive line and I feel his play calling will play to that. Moving the ball with Callahan will not be a problem but where he has to be different than Jason Garrett is finishing drives and that is what I feel he will be able to do.
You see this group as a whole getting off the ball quicker and into their blocks. Callahan is more committed to trying to make this work, where at times I didn't feel like Garrett was as patient. I have also noticed more opportunities for Dez Bryant to take advantage of his ability to make high point plays, which we all know is almost impossible for a corner to have to deal with.
But the biggest difference I have noticed is working the ball to Jason Witten in the red zone. To me, this has never been a bad thing because of his ability to use his route smarts and his big body to create space. One of the best contested ball catchers on this team is Witten. Callahan is smart to take advantage of that.