Hot Coaches

At least three Cowboys staffers will be hot commodities during the team's bye in the first round of the playoffs.

That's when they can interview for jobs with other teams without it being a distraction to the Cowboys' playoff run.

The Atlanta Falcons have requested and received permission to speak with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and assistant head coach Tony Sparano about their vacant head coaching job.

Sparano is expected to interview on Friday. Garrett has yet to set up an interview.

Garrett could also be a candidate in Baltimore. The Ravens fired coach Brian Billick on Monday.

"We have several guys on the staff that could be very good head coaches, I think," coach Wade Phillips said. "That's part of this 13-3 (record). Some other people out there don't look at it maybe like we do inside. They think we've had a successful season and (are) doing really well and (have) people who are good enough to be head coaching candidates."

Garrett has been a hot name because of the explosive Cowboys offense and the record-setting seasons by quarterback Tony Romo, receiver Terrell Owens and tight end Jason Witten.

But Sparano is just as respected across the league for his ability.

"He's got all the attributes to be a head coach," Phillips said of Sparano. "He works well with people. His players play for him, I think that's important. And he's a really sharp, sharp guy as far as Xs and Os and so forth. And I think he'd work well, certainly, putting a staff together."

Also up on the interview trail is scouting director Jeff Ireland.

He will interview today for the vacant general manager position with the Miami Dolphins under former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

Ireland is in the last year of his contract with the Cowboys and has a close relationship with Parcells, who promoted him from scout to scouting director when he was with the Cowboys.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
--WR Terrell Owens is still in a walking boot with a high ankle sprain. He remains iffy for the Cowboys' divisional playoff game next week.

--QB Tony Romo is fine, at least so says Cowboys coach Wade Phillips. Never mind that Romo has struggled statistically since Terrell Owens was sidelined against the Eagles and since he suffered a bruised thumb on his throwing hand.

--LB DeMarcus Ware finished the season with 14 sacks. It was the most sacks for a Cowboys player since Jeff Jeffcoat had 14 sacks in 1985.

--RB Marion Barber entered the Redskins game needing 19 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He left the Redskins game needing 25, as he notched negative-six yards in the game.

--LB Greg Ellis had a career high 12.5 sacks in 2007. But he only had one sack in his three games after having seven in the previous six.

--TE Jason Witten's 96 receptions are the second most in league history a tight end behind Tony Gonzalez' 102 and tying Ben Coates' 96.

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