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Seven Things We've Learned About Bill Callahan This Offseason


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As players and coaches take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.

Today, we'll focus on offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

1. He loves his job:Maybe with different players, and maybe with different personalities, Callahan doesn't have as much fun with a new team. So far, though, he's enjoyed every minute of working with a new group of offensive linemen at Redskins Park.

"I absolutely love it, and I look forward to practice every day," he said. "There's nothing like it. I'm just an old-school ball coach. These guys, they've worked hard, extremely hard and to their credit, I'm really proud of them. They're a great group of kids. They study hard, they've prepared well, and their work ethic has just been tremendous. I couldn't ask any more from them. They've been unbelievable in that respect. They'll continue to grow, build and get better and improve every day. It's been a lot of fun so far."

2. He wants to bring back the tradition of 'The Hogs':This is what you'd want every offensive line coach to say upon their hiring, but Callahan has direct experience with this snouted tradition.

 "I used to come out to Carlisle, [Penn.] in the mid-80s and watch Joe Bugel coach The Hogs. Yeah, it was great. What a great experience that was. Just watching those linemen develop. Now to be here, try to uphold that tradition. I'm really honored by that."

Still, he realizes the difficulties in trying to re-create something in a new era of salaries and roster fluctuation.

"With free agency and the difficulty to hold on to your top players: that's unique," he said. "Of course everybody needs to be paid these days. So, it's hard to keep those five together, especially the five they had here. They were tremendous."

3. Gruden knows he's detailed and he's a grinder:There is no relaxation once offensive linemen enter the building at Redskins Park. Callahan was tasked with improving the group of players in all aspects, including their preparation and discipline away from the field.

"That's two things about him that are two great qualities, and our line needs it," head coach Jay Gruden said. "They're going to work their butts off, not only on the practice field, but in the classroom. And every drill, every waking moment they're awake and they're in this building and out on this practice field, he's going to be in their ear, working them. And they're going to get better as a result. So far, every lineman that we've had in here for Phase 2, Phase 1, the veteran guys, along with the rookie guys have bought into it, and have worked extremely hard with the fundamentals that he's teaching, the techniques, the scheme. All of that I think will pay huge dividends down the road."

4. McCloughan tailored his draft picks for him:Realizing the Redskins' location (east coast), the weather (cold) and division opponents (NFC East) as the calendar turns to the later months of the year, general manager Scot McCloughan wanted to arm his O-line coach with players that could withstand those conditions, both physically and mentally.

"It is. The great thing about it is we're very lucky to have Bill Callahan here. He's been in the league a long time, been around some very successful teams as a head coach and as a position coach. We tailored our draft picks to what fits his system and power is very, very important. With this division and playing late games and hopefully in the playoffs all the way through, you're going to get bad weather games. We need to be able to win up front. We need to have big guys come off the ball and move people. And what we've addressed in this with [Arie] Kouandjio and with Brandon are big body guys that they have no problem doing the dirty work."


  1. He really pushes the offensive line: **After nearly every practice, when the team had shuffled inside, showered, changed and left the facility, the offensive line was still on the field, sometimes working an extra 30 minutes after the final horn had blown.

"We don't sit down and take a knee and watch special teams anymore," center Kory Lichtensteiger said. "We're working straight through. You see how sweaty I am; it's no joke. He's got a good tempo, and he's a very intense coach. We'll definitely get better if we don't die first."

6. Joe Bugel acted as a mentor to him:Like "The Hogs," Callahan had extensive knowledge of Bugel, the man behind that O-line, who spent two stints with the Redskins in his career.

"I've always admired what Joe Bugel has done," he said. "He had a great reputation then as he does now. He's kind of been a mentor in a lot of ways. I've watched his film, watched what he's done with his players over the years and we try to emulate that, trying to carry on that tradition here and try to live up to the standards that they established."

7. Gruden likes how he holds people accountable:The first test with a new coach is seeing whether players respect him or not. That hasn't been an issue with the Redskins this year. The O-Line knows Callahan's history and pedigree. They know the only way to get better is by following his instruction. He makes sure they do.

"I think the way he holds people accountable, number one," Gruden said. "He demands a lot from those guys, both on the field and off the field. These guys come and they meet a lot. They practice hard, you can see them. Pre-practice, their routine is pretty strenuous, so I just think the work that is involved with being a player for Coach Callahan is a demanding thing, but I think at the end of the day, he's going to get the best results out of you because he's going to demand the most of you. So, I think it's a great thing to have him around and it's great for young players to develop with him and even veteran players to learn a new system, a new way about doing things, is a huge benefit for our guys." 




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