- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 3, 2015

ASHBURN — When Ricky Jean Francois watches film of the Dallas Cowboys‘ offensive line, the Washington Redskins’ defensive end very much feels like he’s watching a carbon copy of his own teammates.

The Cowboys still heavily feature most of the techniques and formations Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan implemented last season in Dallas. Callahan guided the transformation of the Cowboys‘ line, which continues to be regarded as the best in the NFL, by turning three first-round draft picks — left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin — into starters. Dallas also added LSU standout La’El Collins, who has started six consecutive games since replacing Ronald Leary at left guard.

When Callahan joined the Redskins this year, he faced a similar challenge. Though he had All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams to work with, the right side of the line was inexperienced, with rookie right guard Brandon Scherff and second-year right tackle Morgan Moses. Compound that with season-ending injuries to left guard Shawn Lauvao and center Kory Lichtensteiger and Callahan has had his work cut out for him.

“[The Cowboys] have they best left tackle in football, the best offensive line,” Jean Francois said. “They added [Collins], that LSU player on their line, they’re still good. But, just looking at them, when I look at film, I feel like I’m looking at Trent. I feel like I’m looking at our line. We’re playing against the same dudes, I’m practicing against the same guys, it’s just different bodies, different uniforms, but the same technique. You’ve got to remember where Bill Callahan came from and who made those guys that way.

Once Callahan left Dallas, his assistant, Frank Pollack, succeeded him as the offensive line coach. Though Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said Callahan’s influence can still be felt along the offensive line, that familiarity will not provide an advantage for either team.

“I think both of us are pretty familiar with each other’s systems,” Witten said. “I think any time you get to this point in the season with the film, we all have a style and identity with which you want to play. For both of us, I think a lot of that has to do with our run game and building it around our offensive line. I don’t know that it’s an advantage but for sure things that we’ve both seen and we’ve ran for a long time.”



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