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Monday, January 10, 2011
Sherman's exit shows head coach in charge

By Tim MacMahon

If you celebrated Jerry Jones declaration that Jason Garrett would have “final say” over the coaching staff and roster, you have to consider Ray Sherman’s unceremonious departure a good sign.

It’s evidence that Jerry wasn’t just blowing smoke.

Garrett really is getting the opportunity to put together his own coaching staff, one that will be loyal to him and shares his philosophy. Sherman apparently wasn’t a fit.

It doesn’t matter that Sherman interviewed with Jones for the head coaching job. His qualifications as a receivers coach – one who has coached Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens, etc. – aren’t up for debate. The issue was whether Sherman was a good fit for Garrett’s staff. The committee of one decided that he wasn’t.

Sherman worked under Garrett for the last four seasons, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing between Garrett and the wide receivers. The receivers, led by T.O., basically revolted against Garrett during the disastrous December of 2008. Roy Williams has repeatedly taken passive-aggressive jabs at Garrett. Patrick Crayton got in his share of shots before his departure from Dallas, too.

We don’t know what Sherman’s role regarding the anti-Garrett sentiment that often came out of the receivers room. Maybe his calm demeanor kept things from really getting out of control, although it couldn’t get much uglier than it did in December ’08. But the circumstantial evidence certainly indicates a lack of trust in the Garrett-Sherman relationship.

Sherman, whose biggest accomplishment at Valley Ranch was developing undrafted Miles Austin into a Pro Bowler, also didn’t seem to share Garrett’s philosophy on relationships with players. Garrett has said coaches have to “guard against having too much sympathy for the players.” Sherman excels at building rapport with players and often made excuses when his receivers didn’t perform well.

Garrett now needs to find a receivers coach who will help get his message across. It’s worth noting that tight ends coach John Garrett, who happens to be the head coach’s older brother, has significant experience coaching receivers.

This hire will rank right up there in importance with finding a defensive coordinator who can clean up the mess on that side of the ball.

The development of Dez Bryant, who made a lot of plays as a rookie despite an elementary-at-best understanding of the Cowboys’ offensive scheme, will be a major factor in the Cowboys’ success or lack thereof in the immediate future. It’s up to Garrett, and only Garrett, to find the right man for the job.