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October 26, 2012

Despite lackluster stats, Callahan says Cowboys' offense showing signs of improvement

Outsiders look at the Dallas Cowboys offense and see an inconsistent unit that caps too many drives with field-goal attempts and struggles to run the ball in the red zone (two rushing TDs in six games) because of substandard play in the offensive trenches.

But Bill Callahan, the team’s offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, sees a unit that is much-improved over the squad that threw three touchdown passes and walked away with a 24-17 victory over the New York Giants in the team’s season opener.

Ever since that night, the Giants (5-2) have posted a 5-1 record and the Cowboys (3-3) have been 2-3, with both victories coming against teams with losing records. Because of injuries, Callahan will not have his leading rusher (DeMarco Murray) or his starting center (Phil Costa) at his disposal for Sunday’s rematch in Cowboys Stadium.

Yet he considers his offense on the rise.

“I think in a lot of respects we’ve gotten better,” Callahand said. “It doesn’t show it in terms of the win-loss column. It doesn’t show it statistically. But I know we’ve made a lot of improvement on the offensive side of the ball and our team collectively. You see signs now.

“Comparing it to our first (game), I think the rate of improvement has been good ... on the offensive side of the ball. Now, we’ve got to tie it all together. That’s the name of the game.”

In terms of offensive tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free, who rank among the NFL leaders in false-start penalties, Callahan said the duo has “show improvement in terms of shutting down the edges” in recent games and he is upbeat about the potential for improvement with the offensive line going forward.

“We’re getting into a rhythm. We’re getting into a routine of what we want to establish,” Callahan said. “We’re just getting better. The footwork is improving, our angles are improving.”

_ Jimmy Burch

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