Dallas' New Sheriff in Town: Cowboys' Jason Garrett Gives Ray Sherman the Boot

Gene StrotherCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2011

CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 7:  Wide receivers coach Ray Sherman and head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys argue a call with referee Bill Carollo and field judge Scott Edwards during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 7, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

First, Jerry Jones interviewed Cowboys receivers coach Ray Sherman for the position of head coach. Then, Jason Garrett was named head coach. Now, Ray Sherman's expired contract will not be renewed.

In other words, either Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones has fired Ray Sherman.

Yesterday, Twitter was alive with incredulous sportswriters and sportscasters blasting the move.

Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News tweeted, "Interesting. Ray Sherman is qualified enough to interview for HC job, but not good enough to remain on the staff. Hmmmm."

Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill, Jr. tweeted, "Ray Sherman played nice with the Cowboys by being the Rooney Rule candidate. They repay him by not renewing his contract."

Newy ScruggS, sports anchor for NBC 5 in Dallas/Fort Worth, jumped on the Twitter dog pile with this: "Check the resume of Sherman as a WR coach. HOF's swear by him."

Calvin Watkins, of the Dallas Morning News, rather succinctly tweeted (succinctly is a must when tweeting), "But letting Sherman go is a mistake that must be fixed quickly."

Each of these writers has Sherman's skin color in common and may well be feeling the sting of a slap, whether real or supposed, via Jerry's using Sherman to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which states that a NFL team must interview a minority candidate before making a hire for the position of head coach, right before showing him the door.

That is understandable.

I do not think Jerry Jones is that heartless. Not many former employees have had anything but good things to say about Jerry as a boss. He has certainly never been accused of mistreating anyone based on a racial issue.

Nor do I think Jerry set out to use or humiliate Ray Sherman.

In fact, I view the Sherman release as a positive thing for one very big reason: It appears that new head coach Jason Garrett does actually have control of the coaching staff.

This has all the markings of a Garrett move.

The new coach intends to put his guys in key roles on this coaching staff. He has that responsibility and that right. It is, after all, Garrett's red-head on the chopping block now. He will be the man in the media's cross hairs whenever things do not go well. His will be the copper top that fans call on Jerry to lop off if losses pile up. It is only reasonable that he be given the authority and leeway to surround himself with his people.

Why is Ray Sherman not a Garrett guy? I do not know. It could go back to the whole Terrell Owens spat with Jason Witten and Tony Romo when Owens used Sherman as a sounding board, all while throwing Garrett under the team bus, accusing him of playing favorites. Or, it could be Sherman's failure to get anything out of Roy Williams, who came to the Cowboys at such a high cost, or Miles Austin's drop off in production after signing the big contract.

Who knows?

Whatever the case, Ray Sherman is, and has been, touted as a great coach. He must be given some credit for the emergence of Miles Austin and the production of Dez Bryant. He has also been a buffer between prima donna receivers and the higher-ups on the coaching staff. For the most part, Sherman kept egos in check and coached a very productive unit.

Gerry Fraley, of the Dallas Morning News, writes:

The Cowboys had a wide receiver with more than 1,000 yards in each of Sherman's four seasons, with Terrell Owens and Miles Austin accomplishing the feat twice. Sherman helped Austin grow into a Pro Bowl receiver and also served as a mentor this season to rookie Dez Bryant, who had 45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns despite missing the final four games because of a fractured right fibula.

Calvin Watkins wrote on ESPN.com:

It's clear Garrett wants his own guys on the staff -- Sherman was hired when Wade Phillips was the coach -- and that's his right.

But letting Sherman go is a mistake that must be fixed quickly.

There were too many times during the season where players were upset about the offense and vented to Sherman.

Sure, Sherman will be missed, but it is rather funny the way media types double talk. If Garrett kept the current staff intact he would be accused of having no power to effect change. If he makes a change, he is accused of getting rid of the wrong guy.

Maybe Mike Ditka was right when he quipped, “What’s the difference between a newborn puppy and a sportswriter? In six weeks, the puppy stops whining.”

When a new head coach comes to town, you have to expect him to put his stamp on the team. When a new head coach was already in town, you still have to afford him that opportunity.

After saddling Wade Phillips with Jason Garrett by hiring Garrett first, and after pretty much forcing Jimmy Johnson's staff on Barry Switzer all those years ago, maybe, just maybe, Jerry Jones has learned his lesson.

I like the firing of Ray Sherman, not because I dislike Sherman or think he did a poor job, but because it seems to indicate that Jason Garrett does actually have some authority. That is a good thing.

Now, it is on Garrett to do something good with it.


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