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.