Jerry Jones lines up minority candidates
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Monday he doesn't have a timetable on naming his next coach but plans on speaking with current wide receivers coach Ray Sherman and another candidate to fulfill the league's policy regarding minority hires.
Speaking to reporters following interim coach Jason Garrett's news conference, Jones also said he will not interview 10 coaching candidates as he did in 2007 when he was replacing Bill Parcells, who retired from coaching.
The two finalists for the job then were Norv Turner and Wade Phillips. Jones hired Phillips; Turner was hired by the San Diego Chargers.
Jones fired Phillips following a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers and named Garrett the interim coach.
Jones said he wants to see Garrett succeed but can't commit to him long-term because of NFL rules regarding coaching candidates.
Under Garrett, the Cowboys are 4-3 heading into the regular-season finale at Philadelphia.
"I want us to have as good and as positive a situation as we have as we make the decision relative to the head coach here after the season is over," Jones said. "I've been thinking about doing any and everything we can for it to be positive, and it is positive for Jason to come in and for the team to play well."
Jones said he has a list of coaching candidates, a list he wouldn't reveal, but there are a few issues he must sort out before making a hire.
Once he fulfills his requirements of the Rooney Rule, which makes NFL teams interview minority candidates, he has to decide if he will make the hire before the current collective bargaining agreement ends on March 4.
If the NFL and the players union fail to reach an agreement, there is a possibility of a lockout. The league would still conduct its draft, but it's uncertain whether teams would pay coaches during a lockout.
The contracts of the Cowboys' assistant coaches has a clause stating that it's up to Jones to decide whether to pay them either a portion of their salaries or all of it if there's a lockout. Jones has not told the coaches about a decision.
Then there's the contract of Garrett, the highest paid assistant coach in the league at $3.5 million a season. The interim coaching portion of his contract expires a few days after the regular-season finale, which is Sunday at Philadelphia. Garrett's assistant coaching contract would then kick in and ends after the 2011 season.
Opposing teams would have the option of interviewing Garrett for any vacancy, something Jones couldn't stop unless he gives him the Cowboys' job full-time.
"Yes. It just impacts it," Jones said of the CBA and other issues. "We've got that to look at. It's potentially irresponsible to have that under consideration. But we're probably not going to know in all likelihood where we are in that respect with our labor situation. We're not going to know anything for the first weeks. There will be a lot of activity regarding our team and any decisions regarding the coach."
Garrett has said he's blocking out the subject of the full-time head coaching position. He said it's just better to worry about what he can control, and that's the day-to-day operations of his football team.
He has previously interviewed for openings in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, St. Louis and Detroit.
Garrett's goal is to become a head coach. He is guarded with his feeling about the job in Dallas, revealing only he didn't hesitate when Jones asked him to take over on Nov. 8.
"I think I am at my best and I think we're at our best when we focus on what's right in front of us," Garrett said. "So what we needed to do today was to come in and process the last game and try to build on some of the good things that happened, and correct some of the bad things and get ourselves ready to game plan for the Eagles on offense and defense and the kicking game and get ready to have a great Wednesday morning."