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Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins’ O-Line history

Jul 7, 2015, 5:11 AM EDT

Callahan minicamp

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 7, 23 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Read and React

A couple of weeks ago I posted and discussed some quotes that Bill Callahan gave to the media during minicamp. I found a few more good ones in the interview so here is Part 2 of that Read and React:

Why did he decide to go Washington after leaving Dallas?

“There were plenty of options out there that I was fortunate to have and an opportunity to come here and be reunited with a lot of the guys I’ve worked with. I thought it was just a great situation to come to and be in.”

I’m sure the money in Washington was very good but he was a hot commodity and he would have been paid well no matter where he went. But coaches have a tendency to gravitate towards other coaches they know. Callahan had worked with Matt Cavanaugh in New York and had coached RB coach Randy Jordan with the Raiders. In addition, Bruce Allen was the Raiders GM when Callahan was the coach there. We all snicker about the crony network but the bottom line is that if a coach is going to spend very long hours with others in a high-pressure situation he often will choose to do it with coaches he already knows.

How is the revamped right side of the line shaping up?

“Preliminarily we’re looking at a lot of combinations. Spencer and Brandon are on that right side. Certainly Compton has experience on that side. We’re lacking Moses not being in the lineup right now so we’ve got some options and some other players that we’re looking at as well. As time goes on I think it will all be settled in training camp when the get the pads on. Once we get out of these pajamas we’re going to start getting into contact and we’ll figure it out better.”

I found this interesting because of the mention of Morgan Moses. Since he was out for all of the offseason work with that Lisfranc injury we don’t know where they intend to put him. Most assumed that Callahan was referring to Moses as a backup right tackle, which could push Compton off of the 53-man roster. But was he talking about a potential backup right guard? There has been talk of converting Moses to guard, although it has mostly been fan and media chatter to this point. Also, the pajamas line drew a laugh. I get the feeling that most coaches hate the no-pads aspect of minicamp. It probably creates more questions that it answers.

Why did he put up a picture of the Hogs in his office at Redskins Park?

“I had the opportunity to be around Raleigh McKenzie about 20 years ago when I was in Philadelphia. Just learning about the history of the Hogs and, of course, having been exposed to the Redskins as a college coach way back in the early 80’s when the Redskins were rolling pretty good. I had a chance to go to Carlisle and watch them practice in training camp several times. I’ve always admired what Joe Bugel has done. He had a great reputation then as he does now. He’s been kind of a mentor in a lot of ways, watching his film and watching what he’s done with the players over the years. We’re trying to emulate that and live up to the tradition and the standards that they’ve established.”

McKenzie was not an original Hog–he’s not in the famed picture of the group in top hat and tails–but he was a very good one. He was drafted in 1985 and started for two Super Bowl champs. Philadelphia was one of several stops for him in his post-Redskins career and Callahan was the offensive line coach. You don’t find many coaches who are interested in those who were there before them, it’s refreshing to see Callahan show such respect for Bugel and the history of an organization he just joined.

On what they look at when drafting top talent:

“The type of player we bring in is important to the cohesiveness and chemistry of the group. It’s great to have a top-round draft choice but that’s not discluding the fact that you are going to have younger players from lower rounds just as good if not better than. So we’ve seen that dynamic as well.”

He’s happy that the team spent the No. 5 overall pick on a player who is in his position group, no doubt. Just like he was happy in Dallas when the had three No. 1 picks on the offensive line. But he wanted to make it clear that he values all of the players that he’s in charge of and that the character of the players selected is very important. On a side note, I’ve been told that this is an improper use of the word “discluding”, which may or may not be a real word. But his meaning was clear, the opposite of “including”. If you want to take it up with him, feel free.


—Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson was born on this date in 1989.

—It’s been 191 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 68 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 23; Preseason opener @ Browns 37; final cuts 60

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In case you missed it

  1. troylok - Jul 7, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    I love it that the man respects the legends that went before his guys. Given the way he coaches, I could buy into him being a head coach if Gruden tanks. He’s what the Redskins have needed for a long time: an old school coach who has stayed up with the times.

  2. gonavybeatarmy - Jul 7, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    One of the little nuggets in that well written and infamous December article titled “The Far Sideline” by Seth Wickersham about Scot McCloughan is the part about coaches. Here was a guy who, at one time, was at the height of his profession in the NFL and still widely considered to be a stellar personnel man. And yet he now found himself out of the league and watching tape in a rented farm house somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. But even at that time he noted he maintained an active list of coaches in the event that some team gave him another chance and that he remained in close contact with the people on that list and adjusted it regularly. It would be more fascinating in my opinion to have a clue who is on that list than to know whom he may draft.

    The conventional wisdom is that every NFL assistant wants to be a head coach. I know nothing about what’s in Callahan’s head or heart, but the more I read about him, including what Rich has written, it seems like the man may just be content with the knowledge that he is a very good OL coach. And he seems to be embracing that narrative. He is widely considered to have done an outstanding job as OL coach in New York and Dallas, and a failure at Nebraska. And of course, some of the stories from people like Tim Brown and Jerry Rice regarding Callahan’s head coaching issues while in Oakland are disturbing.

    Who is Charlie Munger? Only one of the greatest business leaders in US history. His track record is amazing and yet he decided a very long time ago to embrace his role and never wished to be the top executive of his company. But as vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, he has done a great job and is happy. Perhaps approaching the age of 60 Callahan values the legacy left by Bugel- one of the great OL coaches in history.

  3. Skulb - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    I believe the right word is “exclude”.

  4. hk2000 - Jul 7, 2015 at 3:21 PM

    I was going to say something about “discluding”, but you said it, so I’ll leave it at that.

    I think I agree with gonavy above, I think Callahan maybe content to leave his mark as an OL coach, or maybe an OC if Gruden stinks it up again- very likely. BTW, who is our TE coach? Since McVay moved to OC, our tight ends are not on the same level, and McVay is not really doing much as an OC, Do you see any changes coming along those lines?

    • mr.moneylover - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      Our tight end coach is wes Phillips son of wade Phillips he helped put that O-line together and it is well known that bill c. and wes Phillips work very well together and it show in mini camp when the tight ends work with the O-line

  5. mr.moneylover - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    Its sounding more like spencer long and Brandon S. will be on the right side week 1…arie kandjiou might get some red zone work in as well…dallas didnt have options redskins do…you might see a O-line rotation depending on the situation like a 4 and 1 with the game on line you might see the big boys in the game…I dont see tom Compton making the team simply cause he dont fit the motto of bill c. Scheme just like chris chester dont fit bill C. Scheme

  6. captblood3000 - Jul 7, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    I recall McCloughan saying at his post-draft presser that the Redskins would aim to start their five best linemen. Arguably, three of their five best linemen (Williams, Scherff and Moses) are tackles. This may explain why Callahan talks like he’s playing mix and match with one piece (Moses) missing.

    And before you give me a chorus of “Moses is a bum”, answer this question: how many times do you think Callahan has watched Moses’ tape from the San Francisco game? I know Gruden watched it. And I have watched it. Moses is somewhat raw, but then, so are Scherff and Long.

  7. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jul 8, 2015 at 1:17 AM

    I for one hope that they are able to fix this horrible Oline. They counted for 41 of the 58 Sacks themselves. With Football Outsiders Ranking them 31st in Pass Blocking and The NFL. Ranked them 31st also. Until this unit is fixed Nobody can play well at QB. This is our Offenses Major Problem and has bin for a While. They need to call Play Action, Hurry Up, Bootlegs, Pistol Formations, Shotgun, Read Option and more Runs early and often to help cover up this deficiency until it is fixed.

    You can Check out these Stats for yourself Here

    And Here

    You can count up the individual sacks per Linemen by scrolling down the the players and opening their page.which are provided by our friends at The Washington Post. That page is Here

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 8, 2015 at 5:20 AM

      Hey, Tim, when you put three links in one post it automatically gets kicked to the spam folder on the site. So just a tip, if you feel the need to put these links in, maybe split it up into multiple comments. I’ll see it eventually and approve it but I don’t always check the spam folder.

    • bangkokben - Jul 8, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Was Will Montgomery so important to pass protection? The stats say he could be. The Redskins gave up 58 sacks in 2014 and only 43 sacks in 2013. Montgomery was the starting center for the Redskins in 2013 and became Denver’s starter in 2014. The Broncos gave up just 17 sacks in 2014, which is an improvement from the 20 sacks they gave up in 2013. So was Montgomery the key variable? Or are linking these stats with Montgomery similar to linking NBA championships to Robert Horry? The point is you can make conclusions that are not entirely true based on statistics. You could conclude that if you wanted to win an NBA championship in the early 2000s you HAD to have Robert Horry on your team. Sure the statistics are accurate but do they give a complete picture?

      Similarly, we can look at Tim’s stats. They are true. But do they give a complete picture?
      Here’s some more stats related to Tim’s. Griffin was sacked 33 of the 58 times. He is therefore only credited with 217 pass attempts. This was by far the highest rate in the league. Colt McCoy was sacked 17 times and Kirk Cousins only 8 times. McCoy had 128 attempts while Cousins had 204. Using math, we get a team sack rate of 9.6%. Yet, if you break it down by quarterback: Griffin had a rate of 13.2%, McCoy 11.7%, and Cousins 3.8%. You could then project what the total sacks would be for the o-line had each of the QBs been the sole starter: Griffin 80, McCoy 71, and Cousins 23. Had Cousins been the sole starter and these projections remained consistent, the Redskins o-line would have been tied with Cincinnati at 3rd. The Cousins outlier gives strong evidence that the quarterback is responsible for a significant portion of the sacks. This does not count other pressures but Football Outsiders does have a stat that measures how much a quarterback was pressured and how he preformed both with and without pressure.

      There’s a great comparison in there between Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning as both QBs are at the opposite ends when comes to AMOUNT of pressure faced. Here is their conclusion about amount:
      “More than anything, Manning and Wilson show how pressure rate is more of a reflection of the quarterback and the scheme than the offensive line.”

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jul 9, 2015 at 1:27 AM

        Your Link has ZERO to do with the Oline. It is how the QB performed with and without pressure. NOWHERE does it rate the Oline. The only thing in it that points to the Oline’s Performance is the Fact that both QBs are Ranked so low. All You look at is the totals of sacks and sack percentages non of which say who caused the sacks. The stats I’ve Posted are Evaluations of the Oline and the Sacks Attributed to the Oline. You seem to ignore them like they don’t exist. So Why are Each Olinemen have sacks attributed to that individual if he didn’t cause the Sack? Why does Football Outsiders and the NFL Have the OLINE Ranked 31st? These are simple Questions I’ve Bin asking You that you refuse to answer. Instead you keep repeating Totals and Percentages with nothing that shows Blame. I’ve Bin Posting Links That show in Black and White who is accountable for what. So Just answer these 2 simple Questions

        1.Why are Each Olinemen have sacks attributed to that individual if he didn’t cause the Sack?
        2. Why does Football Outsiders and the NFL Have the OLINE Ranked 31st?

        Bonus Question I’ve bin asking you won’t answer
        How many sacks were RG3’s Fault in 2013 and How many were the Oline’s fault in 2013?

        I know the total and percentages of sacks for 2013 I want to know how many YOU BLAME on each Oline and RG3
        THIS IS NOT A COUSINS QUESTION or a projection question. if you don’t understand what I’m asking let me know and I will try to for the Questions in a different form.

        • bangkokben - Jul 9, 2015 at 10:40 AM

          Unlike you. I’m not out to vindicate one individual using isolated states solely for blame. Your rankings are based on total sacks. Total sacks that are clearly disproportionate to who was behind center. You assume only an o-linemen can be BLAMED for the sack despite 17 not being attributed to any of them. There are no stats that BLACK & WHITELY say QB fault for sacks although there is a ton of evidence from other stats (like the ones I showed you about QB pressure and sack rate), like the testimony of coaches (reported numerous times by Keim and others) and the evaluations of professionals who cover the team (Cooley, Walker, Theismann to name just homers who have complete access and only want the team to succeed).

          So to answer your questions. Question 1. I do not hold this stat reliable because we do not know how it is determined and it ONLY is used for the O-line. This stat may or may not discount the quarterback completely and only count blockers. We don’t know. We don’t know how the other 17 are accounted for. Coverage sack? Running back? Tight end? Until there is a clear definition of the process, I discount it. But suppose 17 were on Griffin. That would be nearly double the next guy. But we don’t know? They could all be on Roy Helu, But we don’t know. As for question 2, both stats are based on sacks. The NFL is solely total sacks (doesn’t breakdown by QB which I did for you earlier) and the FO is primarily based on TOTAL SACKS. Adjusted sack rate which they explain on the page but once again it combines the three QBs. If you took this stat and separated the three QBs the results would be dramatically different as i tried to explain to you previously. Even the stat I provided for you on sack rate also has WASHINGTON 31st but I also broke that down by QB for you. Bonus? I don’t place blame. I look at both sides so that I can make an informed opinion. Cousins has proved in two seasons that you don’t have to take the sacks Griffin did. Griffin needs to improve in getting rid of the ball on time and the o-line has to give him more time so that he can grow into a QB that get rids of the ball on time. The End.

  8. skinsblow - Jul 8, 2015 at 12:50 PM

    History? How about ancient history?

    The “hogs” was a goofy, unflattering name given to a specific group of players at a specific time by Jose Bugel. The Vikings no longer refer to their defense as the “Purple People Eaters” nor do the Bills refer to their O-Line as the “Electric Company”. Unfortunately, a select group of very old Redskin fans and media live in the past and still want to refer to their O-Line as the “hogs”. What an insult to the “original” players who were actually good. And as ridiculous as it was, the real embarrassment came when those three attention starved dopes started showing up at games dressed up in dresses and pig noses. Archives

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