Sources: Jason Garrett the favorite

Updated: January 4, 2011, 9:51 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The interim tag on Jason Garrett might go away quickly.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he wants to have a full-time coach in place as soon as possible, maybe by the end of next week.

Following the Cowboys, 14-13, victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, Jones indicated he might start interviews on Monday and some of them don't necessarily have to occur at Valley Ranch.

"From this moment on, I'm going to be really busy visiting about our coaching [vacancy], visiting [candidates], getting the job done that needs to be done," Jones said. "Like I said before the game, there hadn't been any decision made. There hadn't had an interview, but there will be a lot of them done -- I don't want to say a lot of them -- done in a short timeframe."

Multiple sources said Garrett is the leading candidate to get the job. And Jones may have tipped his hand after Sunday's win against Philadelphia when he was asked if the new coach would have input into hiring the rest of the staff.

"That is certainly something that Jason needs to have input in," Jones said. "By the way, Jason had input in many of the staff members we have right now."

Still, Jones has to go through the interview process. Jones hinted he could interview a potential candidate on Sunday night, but most likely it could happen on Monday and one of the first candidates could be wide receivers coach Ray Sherman. NFL rules state all teams must interview a minority to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Jones will also interview another candidate to fulfill the Rooney Rule requirements.

Jones wants to start the process quickly so the organization can move forward on potential changes with the roster and which assistant coaches to retain, something that likely involves the new head coach.

Several of the Cowboys assistant coaches are signed through 2011, but Sherman's contract ends after this season. Jones could also interview special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who has aspirations of being a head coach as well. DeCamillis is signed through 2013.

"We've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of personnel decisions to make, and the quicker that I can get this head coaching decision resolved, the earlier that I can get on it," Jones said. "We've spent a lot of time on it and should have, but as I mentioned, we'll have significant turnover on our roster as far as the players. We'll need to move right into that."

Garrett finished his interim status with a 5-3 record, which included three road victories. But it was not without some problems. He fined starting running back Marion Barber an undisclosed amount for failing to abide by the new dress code, voiced his displeasure with wide receiver Roy Williams over some comments he made about the offense and changed the overall culture at Valley Ranch.

Digital clocks were placed around the locker room areas to reinforce getting on time to practices and meetings.

Garrett also displayed a positive image.

There were poster boards hung outside the locker room with praise to the players who did well in the game and practices. There were also "Atta Boy" T-shirts handed out to those players.

Garrett talked to the players about practicing and playing hard every day and if they struggled, forget about it and move forward.

"He's a man of will," cornerback Mike Jenkins said of Garrett. "He's always trying to motivate us, a great heart. It's not even about football, it's about life. He's always preaching to us about life and just wants us all to be good men other than football and you got to respect him, no matter what."

Jones does not, however, plan on interviewing a large number of coaches, like he did in 2007.

After Bill Parcells retired from coaching, Jones interviewed 10 candidates before settling on Wade Phillips.

Jones fired Phillips after a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 8 and the Cowboys moved forward.

It raised a question as to should Jones have fired Phillips sooner, especially during the team's five game losing streak.

"I don't want to -- I don't need to -- revisit that," Jones said. "But I am pleased with what we've done over the last eight weeks. Certainly, I want our fans to have a good taste in their mouth and I think that this win does give us a better taste in our mouth."

Several NFL teams will have head coach openings after the season and it seems Jones is trying to move fast to prevent Garrett from getting away from him. Jones did say it was unfair to think he's made a decision on who the next coach will be but it's apparent Garrett wants the job.

"I would absolutely love to be this teams coach," said Garrett, the highest paid assistant coach in the league at $3.5 million.

He's avoided talking about it for several weeks and as recently as last week said he blocks out talk about whether or not he'll get the position full-time.

There is still an uncertainty about Garrett because there are other established coaches available for hire and opposing teams with vacancies might come after him.

"As the season progressed, you really got to know what type of guy he is, know what type of coach he is," said DeMarcus Ware, who said he hopes Garrett gets the job. "He knows a lot about football from playing quarterback and he knows a lot about offense, defense and he's really invovled. Those are the types of coaches that you need."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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