With Sean McVay headed west to Los Angeles, the Redskins are widely expected to look internally for his replacement as the offensive coordinator. A prime candidate will be offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who has 37 years of experience as a coach.
Before becoming an NFL coordinator: Callahan spent his first 15 years in coaching working at the college level as an assistant coach and coaching the offensive line. He worked at Illinois, Northern Arizona, Southern Illinois, and Wisconsin. In 1995 he moved up to the NFL as the Eagles’ offensive line coach. In 1998 fellow Eagles assistant coach Jon Gruden was hired as the Raiders’ head coach and the brought Callahan along with him as the offensive coordinator.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
1998 Raiders (8-8)
Rankings: Yards 4,815 (18th), points 356 (22nd), turnovers 43 (29th), 3rd down 31.6% (27th), -24.2%, 29th)
Notable players: WR Tim Brown
The quarterback situation was a three-ring circus featuring Jeff George (7 starts), Donald Hollas (12), and Wade Wilson (3). They ran the ball fairly well, averaging 3.8 yards per attempt, fifth in the NFL, but they didn’t run often, with their 449 attempts ranking 21st in the NFL. (It should be noted that Gruden had a lot of say in the offense while he was head coach. The numbers and analysis are presented as is; the readers can form their own opinions)
1999 Raiders (8-8)
Rankings: Yards 5,693 (5th), points 390 (8th), turnovers 29 (12th), 3rd down 39.1% (8th), DVOA 20.5% (2nd)
Notable players: QB Rich Gannon*, WR Brown*
It’s amazing what a capable quarterback, even one who is 34 years old and has been cast aside by three teams, including the Redskins, can make. Gannon stabilized the position and made his first Pro Bowl after 11 seasons in the NFL. The Raiders also had a good duo of running backs in Tyrone Wheatley (936 yards rushing) and Napoleon Kaufman (714).
2000 Raiders (12-4)
Rankings: Yards 5,776 (6th), points 479 (3rd), turnovers 20 (2nd), 3rd down 43.1% (5th), DVOA 17.3% (6th)
Notable players: QB Gannon*+, WR Brown, LG Steve Wisniewski*, RT Lincoln Kennedy*
The offense continued to hum, the defense improved, and the Raiders improved to 12-4. Gannon earned first-team All-Pro honors; he was the team’s second-leading rusher with 529 yards on scrambles and some designed runs. Wheatley and Kaufman continued to be productive on the ground and it added up to the Raiders having a top-five rushing attack.
2001 Raiders (10-6)
Rankings: Yards 5,361 (7th), points 399 (4th), turnovers 25 (8th), 3rd down 38.8% (11th), DVOA 18.0% (3rd)
Notable players: QB Gannon*, WR Brown*, WR Jerry Rice, OT Lincoln Kennedy*
The Raider continued to roll. Gannon made another Pro Bowl at age 36. Things were going so well that a 39-year-old Jerry Rice came in and had over 1,100 yards receiving. Oakland made it to the divisional round of the playoffs before the “Tuck Rule” did them in.
2002 Raiders (11-5)
Rankings: Yards 6,237 (1st), points 450 (2nd), turnovers 19 (4th), 3rd down 45.5% (2nd), DVOA 22.0% (2nd)
Notable players: QB Gannon*+, WR Brown, WR Rice*, C Barret Robbins*+, RT Kennedy*+
Gruden was traded to the Bucs and the Raiders promoted Callahan to head coach. The Raiders made it all the way to the Super Bowl with three All-Pros on offense. Charley Garner and Wheatley were a potent duo at running back and the 40-year-old Rice continued to impress. The fun ended when they met Gruden’s Bucs in the Super Bowl and were blown out.
2003 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 4,573 (25th), points 270 (26th), turnovers 26 (11th), 3rd down 30.4% (31st), DVOA -9.1% (24th)
Notable players: WR Rice, RT Kennedy
Many will say that the magic of Gruden lasted a year after he was gone and then it collapsed under Callahan. You could also say that age and injury caught up to Gannon, who started only seven games. In any case, Al Davis decided that he’d had enough of Callahan and fired him at the end of the season.
After getting fired by the Raiders, Callahan spent four seasons as the head coach at Nebraska. He then returned to the NFL as the offensive line coach/assistant head coach of the Jets until 2012, when the Cowboys hired him as their offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. As was the case in the days when Callahan was in Oakland with Gruden, it is debatable how much of the offensive results in Dallas are to be credited to or blamed on Jason Garrett. Again, the numbers are here to be interpreted as you see fit.
2012 Cowboys (8-8)
Rankings: Yards 5,994 (6th), points 376 (15th), turnovers 29 (25th), 3rd down 43.9% (5th), DVOA 6.1% (11th)
Notable players: QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten*
Romo was Romo, making some spectacular plays but also throwing key interceptions, including one at FedEx Field that locked up the division title for the Redskins. Bryant had a great year with 1,382 receiving yards. DeMarco Murry was productive when on the field but he played in only 10 games.
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2013 Cowboys (8-8)
Rankings: Yards 5,458 (16th), points 439 (5th), turnovers 20 (8th), 3rd down 35.0% (25th), DVOA 7.5% (11th)
Notable players: QB Romo, RB DeMarco Murray*, WR Bryant* TE Witten*, LT Tyron Smith*
Romo cut down on his interceptions, Murray stayed healthy and had his first career 1000-yard season, and Bryant had another stellar season. The issue in Dallas was that the defense, ranked 32nd, couldn’t stop anyone.
2014 Cowboys (12-4)
Rankings: Yards 6,138 (7th), points 467 (5th), turnovers 25 (20th), 3rd down 47.3% (2nd), DVOA 16.8% (4th)
Notable players: QB Romo*, RB Murray*+, WR Bryant*+, TE Witten*, LT Smith*+, C Travis Frederick*, RG Zack Martin*+
The Cowboys got their running game together with Murray rolling for 1,800 yards. Their draft investments in the offensive line paid off with two All-Pros. They looked like they were going places until the “Did Dez catch it?” game against the Packers (no, he didn’t, BTW). Just a few days after that game, Callahan accepted a position as the Redskins’ offensive line coach.