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Sifting through the Cowboys’ decision not to keep Ray Sherman

Dez Bryant

Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reported over the weekend that Cowboys receivers coach Ray Sherman went from being a candidate to be the team’s head coach to being no longer an employee of the team.

The maneuver made folks even more suspicious of the team’s decision to consider Sherman for the head-coaching job.  The Rooney Rule requires one minority candidate to be interviewed for each head-coaching job.  The Cowboys interviewed one internal candidate, Sherman, and one external candidate, Dolphins assistant Todd Bowles.  No other interviews were conducted.

A source with knowledge of the process tells us that Sherman was indeed a legitimate candidate for the head-coaching job — and that the legitimacy of his candidacy possibly resulted in the decision not to keep him.  Sherman, we’re told, impressed Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen during the interview.

And that apparently made new head coach Jason Garrett less inclined to keep Sherman around.  Hired in 2007 by Wade Phillips (a move that presumably was approved by Garrett, who was hired at the same time to be the offensive coordinator), Sherman became a respected member of the coaching staff, handling problem players like Terrell Owens.  With ownership considering Sherman to be the next head coach, he could have acquired greater status in the new regime, possibly creating an in-house threat to Garrett.  (You know, like Garrett was when he got a big raise in 2008 to stay as the offensive coordinator and de facto co-head coach.)

The thinking, then, is that Garrett opted not to keep Sherman, and that Jones opted not to force Garrett to keep Sherman.

It’s also possible, in our opinion, that Garrett believes Sherman didn’t do a good enough job of controlling T.O. during his last season in Dallas, when discontent regarding the distribution of the ball resulted in Owens and other receivers meeting with Garrett to vent.  Garrett may think that Sherman should have found a way to placate his players without allowing it to become a potentially disruptive issue.

All that said, there surely will be skepticism regarding the notion that Garrett made the decision and that Jones didn’t intervene.  Most observers believe that Jones continues to run the show, and that Garrett will do whatever Jones tells him to do.

For example, former Cowboys great Deion Sanders recently scoffed at the notion that Jones has given Garrett final say over the roster and the draft.  “Jerry plays great games,” Sanders said.  “Jerry has more games than Toys R Us.”

As to Sherman, someone is playing games.  We’re hearing that it was Garrett.  But it’s hard to discount the possibility that the decision not to bring back Sherman was made at a higher level.

In the end, Sherman likely will land with a new team.  But the notion that he was considered to be a possible head coach of the Cowboys only days before being deemed unfit to continue to be a position coach makes the last chapter of his time with the team a confusing one, at best.

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19 Responses to “Sifting through the Cowboys’ decision not to keep Ray Sherman”
  1. skoobyfl says: Jan 12, 2011 7:20 AM

    “Rooney” rule strikes again.

  2. longthao82 says: Jan 12, 2011 7:34 AM

    Ray Ray will land with the Vikings as our off cordinator! That’ll be great!!

  3. mrone50 says: Jan 12, 2011 7:55 AM

    That joke of an organization is more like an NFL sideshow. Jerry’s vanity team should be the new name of the team. That way his face could be on the side of the helmets and the mascot would be made in his likeness.

  4. homerpimpson says: Jan 12, 2011 7:59 AM

    While I would have loved to see Sherman stay (I honestly wanted to see him as the OC), this is in fact a step forward for the organization. Any power that Lord Jerry is willing to relinquish by letting his HC make decisions (as it should be) is progress for the club.

  5. dccowboy says: Jan 12, 2011 8:06 AM

    Was that the decision? Given that we don’t actually know if it was Dallas’ choice or Shermans everything you’ve written is pure speculation and rumormongering.

    The amount of attention being paid to the fate of a position coach is beyond absurd. What is this the THIRD article covering it? Are you kidding?

    Here’s some more speculation for you.

    How about this: Sherman interviews for HC and does well, doesn’t get the gig and decides he has a shot at being a HC somewhere in the near future. If he goes back to being just the WR coach he pretty much gets buried. The likely thing to do is try to get an OC job where he can display his HC apptitude. Dallas isn’t going to have an OC under Garrett (or if they do he won’t have traditional OC duties like play calling and designing the offense), so Sherman has no choice but to refuse to return as WR coach and has to look elsewhere. If he returns as WR coach Dallas can prevent him from interviewing (most likely they would not, but the possibility exists) for other positions or teams would ignore him because he has a job.

    Or how about this: Maybe Sherman got pissed because he doesn’t want to be just a position coach after interviewing for HC and being told he ‘did well’.

    I think the real story is that Sherman is a Jerry hire, not a Garrett hire. Sherman inserted himself between the WRs and Garrett last season and the impression I get is he more or less took the role as ‘player advocate’ against Garrett. If that is true I completely understand why Garrett wouldn’t want him around. The Assistant Coaches HAVE to be loyal to the OC/HC. How long would a position coach last if it were Cowher? Gruden? Shanahan?

    Another point is that now every player and coach now knows who’s in charge – Garrett. They now know that they ‘work’ for Garrett, not Jerry or Stephen. Its a simple and elegant message that established Garrett as the Head Coach, not a puppet.

    Most high level execs coming to a new position will want to have ‘their guys’ around them and look for an opportunity to establish themselves as the guy in charge. That usually resolves to one of the ‘old guard’ being let go. Sherman was not loyal to Garrett and most likely wasn’t ‘on board’ with what Garrett wanted to do to toughen up this team. So, he’s gone.

  6. randolph32 says: Jan 12, 2011 8:26 AM

    Things that make you go ‘hmmm….’

  7. chapnastier says: Jan 12, 2011 8:31 AM

    Wait… so let me get this straight (let’s ignore the fact that we all know what you are trying to do with these posts, good work by the way) Dallas goes out of their way to explain to you and probably a few other boobs out there this entire process and you STILL want us to believe the interview was a sham? What can they possibly do to prove it to you? Was giving Garrett full control not put on full display in this entire situation?

    Evidence obviously doesn’t matter here. ALL of it proves your theory wrong yet you continue to say it wasn’t true. I am a Cowboys fan and hate Jerry Jones too but sometimes when you are wrong, you are wrong. Move on.

  8. steelerdynasty2010 says: Jan 12, 2011 8:33 AM

    “It’s also possible, in our opinion, that Garrett believes Sherman didn’t do a good enough job of controlling T.O. during his last season in Dallas, when discontent regarding the distribution of the ball resulted in Owens and other receivers meeting with Garrett to vent. Garrett may think that Sherman should have found a way to placate his players without allowing it to become a potentially disruptive issue.”

    normally i dont comment on the asinine nature of some of the opinions offered by the PFT writers, but i couldnt pass this one up. IT’S THE OCs JOB TO PLACATE HIS PLAYERS AND FIND WAYS TO GET THEM THE BALL. the receivers coach’s job is to apprise them of the game plan for the week and get them prepared to carry it out. They (players) may consult with their position coach during the game to have him talk to the OC about some adjustments that could be made in response to some things they are seeing on the field at the time (simply because its more likely to happen if a coach does this as opposed to a player, especially one like TO, chirping in his ear about “get me the ball, i’m open”)
    If Garrett’s such a hot coaching commodity, why would he leave it up to a position coach to control and placate HIS RECEIVERS????? beyond ridiculous, way beyond..

  9. cowboyfan66 says: Jan 12, 2011 8:43 AM

    So, did the Vikes have to interview any white guys?

  10. patmcrotch says: Jan 12, 2011 8:44 AM

    Ok so Sherman is a good receivers coach, something the Panthers need desperately. What do you think of him being interviewed for the OC position at Carolina? He is good with developing receivers, and worked under a pretty good OC. Plus if he was really considered to get the HC position in Dallas, wouldn’t it make sense that he would also make a good OC?

  11. tv426 says: Jan 12, 2011 9:18 AM

    The Rooney rule is total BS and should be eliminated.

  12. pravin68 says: Jan 12, 2011 9:24 AM

    The whole point of the Rooney Rule is not just to hire black coaches, but to also give them an opportunity for a serious interview. The idea is to give them enough practice to go through the process. The hiring of black coaches in itself is the desirable end result but not the only goal of the rule. Ray Sherman got his interview. Now if the interview process itself was not even a good honest effort(regardless of what Jerry may have been thinking in his own mind), then yeah, it is a problem.

    But I do think the NFL has done a good job in recent years in the hiring of black coaches. They ahve also improved with the African American QB situation. It took time, but they did get there. Maybe college football has more of a problem with diversity of coaches.

  13. purpleisreallypinkyouknow says: Jan 12, 2011 9:29 AM

    We would take him back in Green Bay again in a heartbeat. This guy has an incredible knack for getting punk players to keep their heads and he knows how to pull the reins in to keep certain players performing when they get off track.

    I like Ray alot….just not for the HC of my team.

    The guy has had alot of bad things happen in his life in the last 5 years…wish him the best.

  14. stetai says: Jan 12, 2011 9:36 AM

    All of “dccowboy” comments are all based on Ray Sherman quitting and blame him for quitting.

    Funny the article says he was let go and that was the gist of the article and the entire point. I’ve always wondered what a diehard Cowboys fan sounds like and now I know. You refuse to acknowledge anything underhanded by your beloved team. You sound like a Packer fan.

  15. richabbs says: Jan 12, 2011 9:54 AM

    Sherman is a good position coach and he might make a good head coach one day, but he wasn’t a very good offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh.

  16. coleton1 says: Jan 12, 2011 10:15 AM

    He was a very good Recievers coach in Green Bay. I wish he didnt leave, but with the death of his son, I think made it to hard to be there.

  17. Jay says: Jan 12, 2011 10:43 AM

    It’s odd how this is such a big story. It should be a non-story considering that Jones interviewed the WR coach back when he was also interviewing the likes of Turner, Rivera and Phillips.

    Haley didn’t get the job in Dallas either and was sent packing to the Cardinals. Where was all the speculation and indignation then?

    Oh, that’s right. He’s just an overprivileged kid who got there on the coat tails of his dad.

  18. mack1222 says: Jan 12, 2011 10:54 AM

    This just points to the Rooney Rule. Although the intentions are good the process sucks.. If i was an up and coming minority candidate I would not waste my time interviewing for a position i know I will not get.

    @cowboyfan66 White guys get interviewed all of the time.

    @ dccowboy was garrett loyal to phillips.

    All of you that is bringing up T.O. what coach has been able to control him? besides that was three years ago. Bottomline I expect Garrett to be done in 3yrs or maybe 2

  19. mack1222 says: Jan 12, 2011 10:55 AM

    This just points to the Rooney Rule. Although the intentions are good the process sucks.. If i was an up and coming minority candidate I would not waste my time interviewing for a position i know I will not get.

    @cowboyfan66 White guys get interviewed all of the time.

    @ dccowboy was garrett loyal to phillips?

    All of you that is bringing up T.O. what coach has been able to control him? besides that was three years ago. Bottomline I expect Garrett to be done in 3yrs or maybe 2

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