As the Redskins look at increasing their offensive production in 2015, head coach Jay Gruden says the hiring of Bill Callahan will instantly help a young offensive line.
While there are many great offensive line coaches out there in the NFL, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden believes he has the best one of all on his coaching staff in Bill Callahan.
During his career coaching in the NFL, 10 different linemen have earned 22 Pro Bowl appearances.
But while he's helped players get the most out of talent from an individual standpoint, Callahan has also helped units come together to help strengthen already-strong offensive units.
As the Dallas Cowboys' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach last season, the team finished second in the NFL with 147.1 rushing yards per game, while DeMarco Murray ran for a league- and franchise-high 1,845 yards.
Gruden said he looks forward to adding that Callahan touch to his team this season.
"Having the ability to run different type runs and get them coached up, Coach Callahan will do a great job teaching them [the offensive line] the right fundamentals, footwork and all the different combinations that are necessary in offensive line play," Gruden said at the NFL Annual Meetings last month. "He's the best at it. What type of runs we're going to feature, hopefully it will be a diverse group, but we'll be sound in what we do."
One characteristic that stands out about Callahan-led lines and his offenses is their physicality.
As Gruden seeks to get the right players in place for a more physical rushing approach, he believes Callahan is the right man to help get the offensive linemen ready for more battles in the trenches.
"Coach Calllahan, obviously his staple is being a great line coach, a physical line coach and the running game he brings to us is more a physical, downhill approach, gap scheme-type runs that we employed some last year, but not as many as we could, and part of that is because of the type of linemen we have," Gruden said. "We have to adjust our running game to the style we want to be, but we have to make sure we have the linemen in the building to do what we want to do."
While the Redskins will still use the zone-running game to their advantage when situations seem fit, Callahan told Redskins.com TV's Larry Michael that the coaches have already been working together to come up with a versatile rushing attack this offseason.
The Washington Redskins announced the hiring of Bill Callahan as the team's offensive line coach on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Take a look back at his career through photos.
"If you're talking schematics and you're talking about the power running game, the gap blocking aspects of the power running game come into play," Callahan said. "I think what Coach [Sean] McVay has brought here and what he's done here has been very positive. We're trying to augment what we're doing with the gap game – which we're going to evolve."
*What This Means For Morris *Over the last three seasons, running back Alfred Morris thrived in the Redskins' zone-running scheme, rushing for almost 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns during that span while also setting the franchise single-season rushing record his rookie season.
So what does this shift in emphasis -- particularly with Callahan's hiring -- mean for Morris?
Gruden believes the Florida Atlantic product will, like Murray, won't skip a beat under Callahan's tutledge.
"Well, he's a running back, and if you're a running back, you want to play for Coach Callahan because he likes to run the ball a lot," Gruden said. "I think Alfred will be happy. There will be some different styles of runs for him, so for the most part, Alfred's got great vision and did a great job protecting the football last year, so I think Alfred will be happy with some of the changes."