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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Cowboys' Bill Callahan takes the blame

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said quarterback Tony Romo shouldn't have changed a run play to a pass that resulted in a fourth-quarter interception in Dallas' loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Callahan
But offensive coordinator/playcaller Bill Callahan acknowledged it was his fault, saying he shouldn't have given Romo the option to change the play.

"I put that on myself just because it was built into the play," Callahan said after Thursday's practice. "That’s how I look at it. We can do better. I can do better, certainly."

During a nearly 20-minute discussion with reporters, Callahan said Romo didn't actually audible from run to pass, but the play call is designed so that if the defense gives the offense a certain look, the play changes.

Callahan said some plays come with what NFL teams call "tags."

The play he sent to Romo came with a tag, and when the defense stacked the line of scrimmage, it meant a pass should be used. Romo does have the discretion to not use the tag. But given how the second half was going for the Cowboys' defense, which allowed three fourth-quarter touchdowns, Romo felt he needed to be aggressive.

Romo's aggressiveness hurt the Cowboys because he turned the ball over, throwing an interception on a pass intended for Miles Austin.

"I just would say if we had to do it all over again, we'd certainly do it different," Callahan said. "That was the design of the play and we certainly can do better. Certainly, I can."

It's easy to second-guess Garrett for not calling a timeout after seeing Romo check out of the play, and Callahan for using a play with the option of passing the ball when running might have been a better option.

"The reason why [a tag is] on, it gets him out of issues and problems and things that can create a bad effect on a play," Callahan said. "If the box is loaded on one side and you try to run there and numerically they have too many people there, it's just common sense. You want to hand the ball off in front of an unblocked defender and have him blow up your back and create a fumble? [Say] you ran the ball though, but the result wouldn’t have been good."