–A Look At Bill Callahan’s Coaching Timeline
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By Brendan Capria
Redskins.com Contributing Writer
In early-February, offensive line coach Bill Callahan reminisced to the days he would travel to Carlisle, Penn., to watch “The Hogs play in the 1980s. More than 30 years later he has a tradition to uphold.
Callahan is honored to be in a similar position to Joe Bugel’s in the 80s.
“Yeah, it was great. What a great experience that was. Just watching those linemen develop,” Callahan told Larry Michael, Voice of the Redskins, on “Redskins Nation.” “I’ve always prided myself on trying to take a group and make them better. This is a great challenge – one I’m fired up about.”
The Washington Redskins through the years have had its famed linemen from Russ Grimm and the rest of “The Hogs” to Trent Williams today.
National Pancake Day not only is a day about a breakfast food, but also a day to recognize the lineman knocking defensive players to their backs – also known as a “pancake.”
Bugel – they called him Boss Hog in the glory days – spent 15 seasons with Washington.
The team won four NFC East titles, three NFC Championships and two Super Bowl Championships during his time in burgundy and gold.
Russ Grimm remembered protecting the legacy with each snap from his center next to him. He was drafted in Bugel’s first season and played under him until he left to coach the Phoenix Cardinals in 1990.
Grimm played in 11 seasons (140 games) with the Redskins, starting in 1981 when the team drafted him in the third-round (69th overall). In his career, Grimm contributed to three different running backs combining for six 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
Grimm did not take full responsibility for any of the offense’s successes.
“Joe Bugel, I love the guy. He is a big reason that I will be going to Canton in August,” said Grimm in his Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in 2010. “I still think about those days when we had great times. There were tough times but you have to be able to stick through it and I think that is what got us to stick together for all those years.”
Out of Grimm’s four Super Bowl appearances (three wins), the Redskins’ victory in 1987 was one that tested the dynasty.
Grimm, after recovering from a partially torn ligament in his left knee, rejoined the offensive line before the regular-season finale that year.
Then-rookie running back Timmy Smith rushed for 204 yards on 22 carries (9.27 yards per carry) in that game, which is a Super Bowl record.
Fast-forward: on December 20, 2014, Trent Williams winced as he cradled his right arm in his left. The 2014 Pro-Bowler said his shoulder was “virtually dead” during the team’s division matchup against Philadelphia. He thought his day was over.
“I didn’t want to quit on my guys. So, I fought it out,” Williams said in the post-game press conference. “I just fought it out with my good left arm.”
Williams has started 70 of the team’s 71 games in his five-year career thus far.In that time, he has been selected to three Pro Bowls.
He said fighting for the team was worth the pain he endured. Like Grimm, it is being able to “stick through it” when times get tough.
Callahan now looks to the present to preserve the past, to uphold a storied tradition. He said he thinks Williams is “tremendously athletic,” but still has more to achieve.
“What he can do from footwork and redirect and reach, he has all the qualities of a great player,” Callahan said. “I’m certainly excited and hopeful we can get him there.”
As for having a line in-sync like The Hogs were:
“It’s hard to keep those five together, especially the five they had here,” Callahan said. “They were tremendous.”
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