IRVING, Texas -- If Bill Callahan wanted to be brutally honest, he could complain about the Dallas Cowboys refusing to allow him to interview this offseason with other teams interested in hiring him as an offensive coordinator.
But that wouldn’t do any good for Callahan, who kept the offensive coordinator title but was stripped of his play-calling duties when the Cowboys hired Scott Linehan. And it certainly wouldn’t do any good for the Cowboys, who denied requests from the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens to discuss their offensive coordinator jobs with Callahan.
“I’ve just taken on a mindset and a focus to do the best job I can no matter where I’m at and what the situation is and the opportunities that present themselves,” Callahan said. “My focus is just really our offensive line and improving them day in and day out and getting them better.
“I just take on the mindset that things happen for a reason. I live with that and I move on. I make the best of every situation I’m in. I’ve never worried about anything else. I’ve always had confidence in myself and my abilities to do a good job. My focus has always been to do a great job where I’m at, and everything else takes care of itself. I’m not concerned about any of that stuff.”
The Cowboys have put Callahan in an awkward situation by forcing him to stay when he would have preferred to call plays elsewhere. They are counting on his professionalism to make it a non-issue.
Of course, the Cowboys also put Callahan in an awkward situation last season, when owner/general manager Jerry Jones forced head coach Jason Garrett to give up the play-calling duties. Callahan called plays, but the Cowboys kept Garrett’s system instead of going to Callahan’s West Coast offense.
The results were mixed. The Cowboys ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring with 27.4 points per game, their most since 2007, but some of that improvement can be attributed to the defense’s improvement in forcing turnovers. Dallas was 16th in the league in total yardage (341.1 yards per game), the Cowboys’ lowest ranking since Chad Hutchinson and Quincy Carter shared the starting quarterback job in 2002.
“That’s all in the past,” Callahan said when asked to evaluate the job he did as the Cowboys’ play-caller. “I just continue to focus in. My mindset is looking towards the future and what we’re doing here with the offensive line and my role and my responsibilities now. I really don’t look back. I just keep working forward and trying to do the best I can.”
The Cowboys didn’t allow Callahan to leave because they consider him one of the NFL’s elite offensive line coaches. The Valley Ranch decision-makers determined that they wanted Callahan to continue overseeing the development of a unit that has gone from a glaring weakness to a strength for the Cowboys under his watch.
“He’s just a great coach,” Garrett said. “He’s one of those coaches that I like to go sit in his meetings. I like to go to his side of the field when he’s working drills. You can see the guys get better before your eyes.
“The fact that he and [assistant offensive line coach] Frank Pollack have such a good relationship working with those offensive linemen, I think it’s a great environment for those guys to learn in, and for us to develop really, really quickly, not only individually but for those guys as a group.”