Ray Sherman is a head coaching candidate

IRVING, Texas -- When Jerry Jones mentioned the name of Ray Sherman as a coaching candidate, it drew some surprises outside of Valley Ranch with fans and some media members.

But inside Valley Ranch and across the league, Sherman, the Cowboys wide receivers coach, is more than a requirement for the Rooney Rule.

Sherman is one of the more respected coaches in the league and has handled Terrell Owens, John Taylor, Jerry Rice, Donald Driver, Randy Moss and Cris Carter among other top-flight receivers. You can also give him some credit for the development of Miles Austin and how he's handled Dez Bryant during his rookie season.

And Sherman is not just a receivers coach.

He was an offensive coordinator for three teams, the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings. Though each was for one season, he does have the experience of calling plays.

And if Jason Garrett, the interim coach, had left for another job following the 2007 season, Sherman was in line to become the offensive coordinator of the Cowboys.

This is not to say Sherman is going to get the job. We believe Jones will select someone with some head coaching experience, something Sherman doesn't have. But it should be noted Sherman has 23 years of NFL coaching experience.

A few years ago, the St. Louis Rams were interested in interviewing Sherman for their head coaching vacancy that eventually went to Steve Spagnuolo.

Another factor that goes into the Sherman interview is he's in the last year of his deal and the Cowboys could lose him to another team.

Out of respect for Sherman, we don't believe the Cowboys will make him their Rooney Rule candidate. Jones said he plans to interview another minority candidate, and that person could be the designated by the Cowboys as a Rooney Rule candidate.

Back in 2007 before he hired Wade Phillips, Jones interviewed Todd Bowles, Mike Singletary and Jim Caldwell, all minority candidates for the job. Since then, Singletary and Caldwell got head coaching jobs with NFL teams. While Bowles is still looking for his first head coaching job, he's currently the assistant head coach/secondary coach with the Miami Dolphins.

The odds look good that Garrett will get the job full-time, but Jones is determined to interview qualified candidates, enough not only to satisfy the league in regards to the Rooney Rule, but also for himself as well.