One reason why Redskins assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan has sustained a long and successful career in the NFL is because of his attention to detail and innovative thinking when it comes to making sure his players are prepared and at the top of their game.
The latest example of this is Callahan's work with the blocking dummies used during offensive line drills. To help his players get the most out of each rep, he worked with South Carolina company Rae Crowther Co. to create a dummy that is more realistic to what a player would be blocking come live action.
“Well I think what we’ve done is we’ve designed a sled that is realistic to a defensive lineman and his ability to come off the ball and use his hands against a blocker," Callahan said about the invention. "So what we’ve done is we’ve manufactured and created a sled that has created angles that are similar to a defensive lineman. In term of the height, in terms of the level that they come off the ball."
Not only does this new dummy provide offensive lineman with a more in-game feel of blocking a defender, but it allows them to practice techniques that will better prepare them for the real thing.
"We built the chest plate into it so the offensive lineman can use natural hand leverage, and they can create a strike and a lift and what we call a climb," Callahan said. "So they can really get leverage underneath the sled. They can lift it, they can run their feet and obviously they can execute the block that we’re asking them to do.”
Pleased with the initial design, Callahan has been testing the prototype out with the Redskins offensive line group at recent practices. Though the coach believes there are still improvements to be made, the initial reception has been pleasant so far.
“The feedback has been really positive from the players because it’s probably the first sled they really like that simulates the actual fit in the practice itself," Callahan explained. "So we can take this device, work it individually and then carry over into the drills."
Nothing helps a player prepare more than live experience, but Callahan's new invention is helping make every drill more valuable to the offensive line. He's hoping the new dummy will help lead to a strong season from his guys upfront, and in the future impact players everywhere,
“This is just a really good device to create the blocking fit that an NFL lineman needs to develop his skill and his tools. We’re really pleased with it, it’s been really positive so far and hopefully we’ll have a few more out here in the next few weeks," Callahan said. "Hopefully, it’ll go nationwide.”
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