[Ed Note]: This article was written by O.C.C., it was only posted by me under my byline. All credit goes to O.C.C. - Dave [End Note]
Jason Garrett will more than likely be named the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach, an apparently high-ranking but unnamed team source told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram yesterday.
Clarence Hill reports that it seems very clear inside Valley Ranch that Garrett is the man for the job, and has been Jones' favorite for a long time. Garrett's leadership as an interim head coach and the way the players have responded to him has proven to Jones that Garrett is ready for the head coach position.
Whether this means that a decision is imminent, or whether this is just informed speculation is anybody's guess. What is clear is that there are a number of factors that will influence if and when Jerry Jones makes an announcement about the head coaching job, and these factors may even be forcing his hand.
[UPDATE I: The usually reliable Michael Lombardi from the NFL network is reporting that "Jason Garrett had the interim tag removed and will be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a team source said Sunday." Ladies and gentlemen, the Cowboys appear to have a new head coach.]
[UPDATE II: Now it's getting complicated: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that the Cowboys are denying the report from NFL.com, but maintains that Garrett is still expected to be the next head coach]
For one thing, Jerry will have to comply with the Rooney Rule. He has already confirmed that he will interview current wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, but also made it clear that Sherman will not be the Rooney Rule candidate. Apparently, Jones has another minority candidate lined up for an interview who would be the designated Rooney Rule candidate.
Another factor in play is Garrett's job status. Nick Eatman from the Mothership summarizes the situation:
As Jones pointed out last week, Jason Garrett’s contract as interim head coach expires on Sunday after the game. From that moment, he’s the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. That means any team looking for a new head coach can ask, and must be granted permission by Jones, to interview as long as the position is for head coach.
Other teams might hesitate to call on Garrett if they believe that his promotion is a foregone conclusion, but the longer Jerry waits, the more likely it is that other teams could request permission to interview him, if only to force the Cowboys to show their cards early in the process for the head coaching candidates out there.
Also, don't underestimate Garrett's own role in this whole process. While Garrett has been a loyal soldier and has always toed the company line, he will also want to know quickly and exactly what his future role with the Cowboys will be. Like any potential candidate, he needs to feel wanted, and if he gets the feeling that Jerry is just stringing him along, he'll look for a team that will fully commit to him - faster than you can say 'what the heck just happened?'.
Finally, time may also be of the essence if the Cowboys want to lock up the best assistant coaches available. Dan Pompei from the National Football Post reported a month ago that Jones is looking at how he can further shore up the assistant coaching staff for (and hopefully with) Garrett.
Word on the street is that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is planning on putting together a "super staff" of assistant coaches for the Cowboys next year, and is willing to pony up to get the best.
Would a DC like Dom Capers be part of that package? Sparano as OC or OL-coach? Nolan? Zimmer? Lewis? Who knows? And who knows which coaches will become available from Monday onward, but let's hope that this time around, the head coach gets a say in who his assistants will be. But you've got to have a head coach first.
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