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Dallas Cowboys Playoff Hopes Fall on Bill Callahan

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 24:  Bill Callahan head coach of the AFC Champion Oakland Raiders answers questions during a press conference on January 24, 2003 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. The Oakland Raiders will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Superbowl XXXVII on Sunday January 26, 2003 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Mitchell KlempContributor IIAugust 20, 2012

The Dallas Cowboys went into this past offseason with major holes to fill in the secondary. That led to the signing of cornerback Brandon Carr (formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs) and the selection of Morris Claiborne out of LSU with the No. 6 pick of the 2012 NFL draft.

The Cowboys also brought in fullback Lawrence Vickers to help Demarco Murray continue his success from last year.

But the one thing that Dallas forgot to do was add depth in other key offensive positions. The search for a solid third wide receiver has been extensive, but that is a luxury compared to the needs across the offensive line.

Luckily the Cowboys brought in veteran coach Bill Callahan, who brings with him a wealth of experience at the pro and college levels.

Callahan and his offensive line made the New York Jets the top rushing team in the NFL in 2009. The Oakland Raiders were the best passing team in the league for the first time in franchise history during the 2002 campaign during which Callahan was the head coach.

Now he has his work cut out for him trying to fix the Cowboys. Injuries and a lack of depth have left Dallas fans begging head coach Jason Garrett not to play Tony Romo until the offensive line gets a little bit better.

Dallas’ 2011 starting center, Phil Costa, is out with a lower back injury. Callahan has had to teach guard David Arkin the position over the past few weeks since Arkin has no experience playing center.

 

Phil Costa wasn’t exactly Pro Bowl material last year either, so his return will not turn the line around instantly.

Arkin is also listed as the backup guard to Mackenzy Bernadeau, who missed most of the Cowboys’ offseason workouts due to hip and knee surgeries.

The Cowboys also have Tyron Smith and Doug Free switching positions. Smith will start this year at left tackle and Free will move to the right side.

All of this uncertainty means that the Cowboys will rely heavily on Callahan to make sense out of all of the mess.

Romo has the biggest success when he has a solid pocket to throw from. He has the ability to scramble and make plays, but that won’t hold up over the entire 16-game season.

The Cowboys have been criticized for a lack of offensive balance in games and with a tousled offensive line, the run game will suffer dearly.

Callahan now has two preseason games left to teach everyone their new positions and shore up the returning players’ skills.

If Callahan can coach up the interior line the way he did with the 2002 Raiders, the Cowboys will have a legitimate shot at an NFC East title. If he can’t, then it will be another season of struggles for Dallas.

Contact Mitch Klemp at MitchKlemp@yahoo.com and follow him on twitter @MeestaMitch

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