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Brian Callahan brings perfect complement to Zac Taylor’s offense

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Callahan’s influence will play a big role in the Bengals’ 2019 success.

Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Camp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Brian Callahan is an exciting young coach who has risen up the NFL ranks very quickly. Along the way he was exposed to many highly intelligent mentors and received a diverse offensive education.

Now in Cincinnati as a first-time offensive coordinator, Callahan has a lot to contribute, and Zac Taylor will not allow his talent to be squandered.

Experience

  • 2006-2007: UCLA (graduate assistant football operations)
  • 2010: Denver Broncos (coaching assistant)
  • 2011-2012: Denver Broncos (offensive quality control coach)
  • 2013-2015: Denver Broncos (offensive assistant)
  • 2016-2017: Detroit Lions (quarterbacks coach)
  • 2018: Oakland Raiders (quarterbacks coach)

Background

In a relatively short coaching tenure, Callahan has managed to work with an incredible list of offensive minds including Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Jets head coach Adam Gase, former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, outside zone guru Alex Gibbs, former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, former Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

This is an impressive lineup to say the least, and gives Callahan a wide variety of influences to pull from. This is of course not even mentioning that his father Bill Callahan is an accomplished offensive line coach who took the Raiders to the Super Bowl as a head coach.

When Cincy Jungle’s own John Sheeran broke the news that Brian Callahan would be the Bengals next offensive coordinator, it came with a strong endorsement from Gruden, but Gruden is not the only person praising Callahan. When he left Denver for his first quarterbacks coaching position, many prominent figures sang his praises.

“He did a tremendous job for us,” Gary Kubiak said. “He’s got a bright future.” Kubiak’s quarterback at the time, Peyton Manning, echoed his sentiments as well.

“Brian Callahan is going to be a top-flight quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator, maybe head coach like his dad at some point in the near future,” Manning said.

2019 Outlook

Manning was right, or at least a third right, and hopefully two-thirds right. When Callahan left Denver, he did a great job as Matthew Stafford’s position coach with the Lions. He helped Stafford have two of his best NFL seasons by perfecting the little details of his game.

“We’re talking body positioning, foot positioning, really, really specific stuff that I think very few people notice just watching,” Callahan told ESPN during is time working with Stafford.

“It was, ‘What can we do that we can control that can make him 5 percent more accurate over the course of the season.“ He added, “so instead of maybe when he comes out of a game, instead of being maybe 65 or 66 percent, we’re 69 or 70 or 71?

“That’s the difference in this league between winning and losing is three of four passes a game.”

Although Alex Van Pelt retains his role as quarterbacks coach, expect Callahan to spend time working on the finer points of Andy Dalton’s game. When Colts head coach Frank Reich served as Doug Pederson’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, it was the offensive-minded Pederson who took on play calling duties. Reich’s emphasis in game planning was on third downs. The Eagles success keeping drives alive by converting 3rd downs was instrumental to their Super Bowl run.

Similarly, the offensive-minded Taylor will be calling the plays in Cincinnati, but that doesn’t mean that Callahan won’t have an important role. Callahan has ambition and smarts, just like Taylor. Expect Taylor to lean on Callahan’s expertise on third downs, in the red zone, and/or another important situation.