Dallas Cowboys: Damien Woody

Bill Callahan has mixed young, old lines

January, 19, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who will be introduced to the media today with secondary coach Jerome Henderson, is coming into something of an unknown situation with the state of the Cowboys’ line.

He knows Doug Free and Tyron Smith will be parts of the five-man operation, but will Free and Smith flip sides from where they were in 2011? Right guard Kyle Kosier ended the season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee. Phil Costa started every game at center, but is he a long-term answer? The left guard spot is open for competition with Bill Nagy coming back from ankle surgery and Montrae Holland and Derrick Dockery set for free agency.

In 2008 Callahan came aboard a New York Jets ship that went 4-12 the previous year with a rookie left tackle in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center in Nick Mangold.

In free agency the Jets added the NFL’s best guard in Alan Faneca, signing him away with a five-year, $40 million contract that included $21 million in guarantees. They signed Damien Woody to play right tackle, paying him $11 million in guarantees as part of a five-year, $25 million deal to get out of Detroit.

“Those young guys had to grow up in a hurry and now those guys, Mangold and Ferg, are two of the best offensive lineman in football,” Woody said. “A lot of that has to do with Coach Callahan doing that extra work. He’s going to work those guys before practice, during practice, after practice and all that hard work paid off for a couple of years. Our offensive line was probably considered one of the best in the league. I think he’s going to have the same effect in Dallas.”

While the Jets went with free agents early, they mixed in younger players, such as Matt Slauson, and took Vladimir Ducasse in the second round of the 2010 draft.

In Oakland, he made two changes on the offensive line and the team went from 4-12 to 8-8, mixing in younger linemen like Mo Collins, Barry Sims and Matt Stinchcomb.

The Cowboys need to address the offensive line in 2011 either in free agency (are we tired of the Carl Nicks stuff yet?) or the draft. Or both.

Callahan has done it both ways in his past.

Damien Woody lauds Bill Callahan

January, 12, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Damien Woody was an offensive lineman for Bill Callahan for three years with the New York Jets, and he can’t say enough good things about the Cowboys' new offensive line coach.

And it sounds like Callahan can’t wait to get started.

“I talked to him yesterday,” said Woody, who is now an analyst for ESPN. “He was definitely excited. Just excited for the fact of that organization and the rich tradition the Cowboys have and the personnel on offense. He’s really excited about the personnel on offense, the personnel of the offensive line. He knows it’s a young group, but it’s a talented group. He’s going to be a good fit for the Dallas Cowboys.”

Callahan is replacing Hudson Houck, who elected to retire earlier in the week. Callahan spent the last four seasons with the Jets after a four-year run at Nebraska.

“He’s a meticulous man,” Woody said. “He’s not going to leave any stone unturned. That’s the one thing about him. He’s meticulous in everything: the classroom, on the field. He’s a real stickler on technique. But the one thing I like about him is he listens to the players. He’s open. His whole thing is he’s not going to make players do something they’re not comfortable with. At the end of the day if the players feel like it worked better one way, he’ll listen.”

The Jets’ line had something called the “Breakfast Club,” and they would meet before the rest of the team would get in the building to start the day.

“We always had the longest meetings of probably any position group on the team because we just went over everything,” Woody said. “Every little detail we’d go over.”

With the Jets, Woody said Callahan worked man and zone blocking schemes.

“When I first got there, we were kind of like a power, just straight man-on-man blocking,” Woody said. “But as time wore on we incorporated the zone more into our blocking schemes. He’s versatile. We did both and were successful with both with the Jets. It doesn’t matter to him. He knows how to get it done the way the offensive coordinator wants to get it done.”