Bill Callahan to be Dallas O-coordinator

Updated: January 13, 2012, 1:58 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

For the first time since joining the Dallas Cowboys as a coach, Jason Garrett will not have offensive coordinator associated with his job title. That position will go to veteran coach Bill Callahan, who the team officially named the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach on Thursday.

Garrett, hired by the Cowboys in 2007 as the offensive coordinator, and named head coach last year, will still call the offensive plays.

Callahan replaced Hudson Houck, who announced his retirement on Tuesday. Houck was also the Cowboys running game coordinator.

Under Garrett, the Cowboys finished 11th in total offense at 375.5 yards per game, a higher number than the 364.3 yards per game it compiled in 2010, but that offense finished seventh overall.

Scoring totals were down this season, as the Cowboys averaged 24.6 points per game in 2010, but only 23.1 points in 2011; however, rushing yards per game were up from 111.6 in 2010 to 112.9 in 2011. For the first time since 2004, the Cowboys didn't have at least a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver.

Yet, quarterback Tony Romo had a career-high 102.5 quarterback rating and was one of just four quarterbacks to have at least a rating of 100 during the 2011 regular season. Romo, who threw 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, was seventh in the NFL with 4,184 yards.

Garrett's commitment to the running game was questioned by fans and the media since taking over as play caller in 2007, but rookie DeMarco Murray's franchise-record 253 rushing yard performance vs. St. Louis on Oct. 23 changed that slightly. On the season, Murray rushed for 897 yards before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 13 with a fractured ankle. Murray went four consecutive games where he carried at least 20 times, something that had never happened under Garrett for a single player.

Adding Callahan, who will enter 2012 a veteran of 14 NFL seasons, should help Garrett manage the game better. Callahan spent the past four seasons as the New York Jets offensive line coach/assistant head coach but was previously a head coach for both Nebraska and the Oakland Raiders. He led the Raiders to Super Bowl XXVII.

Garrett's time management skills came into question several times during the year, and it eventually cost the Cowboys a game at Arizona on Dec. 4. Garrett mismanaged the game clock, not calling a timeout sooner or attempting one more play, and called a timeout which iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey. Bailey missed a game-winning, 49-yard field goal. Arizona would win the game in overtime, 19-13.

Having a veteran coach such as Callahan might help Garrett in game management.

"I've learned a ton of things," Garrett said Jan. 2 after the Cowboys season was over. "As a head coach, as an offensive coordinator, as a playcaller, as someone who relates to coaches and players and everybody. I could go down a huge list. It's hard for me to pick out the number ones. It's a little bit like my favorite color type of question -- for me. A lot of things."

When Garrett was asked if he considers himself a better coach now than when he took over for Wade Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season, he said, "Hopefully I am. Absolutely."

The Cowboys also hired secondary coach Jerome Henderson, who spent the last three seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Henderson replaces Dave Campo, who didn't receive a new contract by the Cowboys when it expired.

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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