Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski continued to fill his staff on Friday with the hiring of Bill Callahan as offensive line coach.
Callahan brings 45 years of coaching experience, including 21 in the NFL, to the Browns.
In addition to working with an offensive line that might have up to three new starters on it this fall, Callahan will also serve as a sounding board for Stefanski, who is entering his first season as a head coach, Stefanski told clevelandbrowns.com:
“I can’t do this thing alone. I know that, so I need really good people around me. To have somebody in the office next to me who’s been a head coach in college, a head coach in the pros, has seen a lot of the obstacles that come up in the course of a day for a head coach is huge. I can pop in next door and ask him his opinion on a bunch of things and that can inform my decisions moving forward on things big and small.”
Callahan brings extensive experience working with offensive lines, starting in 1995 with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has also served as an offensive line coach for the New York Jets (2008 to 2011), Dallas Cowboys (2012 to 2014) and Washington Redskins (2017 to 2019).
He also brings head coaching experience to Cleveland, as he was head coach with the Oakland Raiders (2002 to 2003), the University of Nebraska (2004 to 2007) and filled the interim head coach role for 11 games last season with the Redskins.
After all that time, Callahan still brings a passion to the job, as he told the team’s website:
“I love everything about it. I love the players, and they’re unique because they’re so selfless. They’re like a team within a team. Everything that goes on is an extension of everybody, so nothing good can happen unless they perform well. There’s a burden. There’s a challenge. There’s a responsibility to do great things. There’s the fun of bringing and developing a lineman from the time that he’s a young player through his infancy in the NFL to helping them achieve a Pro Bowl status … It’s great to see that type of development in a player. That’s what I enjoy coaching the most. To see that improvement. To see guys have success.”
One area that will be interesting to watch is to see what type of blocking scheme Stefanski and Callahan implement with the Browns. To get an idea of how that will progress, it may be helpful to look at Callahan’s time with the Cowboys.
Callahan joined the Dallas staff in 2012 he worked to make two significant changes. The first was to switch from a man-blocking scheme to a zone-blocking scheme, the second was to work on cleaning up the play calling to help the offense operate more quickly.
The most notable one was his shift from Houck’s diverse man blocking scheme to a zone blocking scheme that Callahan preferred. This change helped speed along the Cowboys’ rebuilding project on their line, as Tyron Smith became a Pro Bowler for the first time in 2013 and rookie Travis Frederick was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team.
While in New York, Callahan worked closely with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, whose offensive scheme was derived from his father, Marty Schottenheimer, and was effectively a mix of the Air Coryell and Erhardt-Perkins. It combined the power running of the Air Coryell and its preference for well timed deep shots with clearer, more concise language that made it easier for quicker playcalls.
Callahan implemented this change in order to speed up the Cowboys’ offense and take pressure off of Romo, who had been spending too much time being chased by defensive linemen while waiting for a receiver to open up downfield.
Sounds like a perfect model for the Browns to explore as they have running back Nick Chubb to handle the power running duties, a wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. for the “well-timed deep shots” and a quarterback in Baker Mayfield who could definitely use a break from being chased around by opposing defensive lineman.