So Many Choices for Sherman

Normally, it is the star student who earns the spotlight. But Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Ray Sherman has earned his share of the spotlight, too, through the team's offseason OTAs and mini-camps, and now at the Cowboys' training camp in San Antonio.

It's not that Sherman is suddenly throwing touchdown passes or signing autographs, but he does find himself helping the team's high-profile first-round draft pick, Dez Bryant, get his feet wet, and also is charged with balancing the roles and playing time of several proven veterans.

As for Bryant, Sherman said one of his biggest challenges is not heaping too much on his star rookie too quickly.

"He is learning to play on the outside," Sherman said. "If you throw a lot at him, you're going to confuse him and slow his growth down. You have to get him in a spot and get him comfortable with the system, and also have him understand all the other components of the route (and) what those entail. Then you can branch him out to other parts."

Rookies often struggle in their first training camp, or even through their first season. Sherman said that slowing down the amount of information thrown at a rookie actually can accelerate the learning process.

"There is so much — the splits, routes, adjustments, reading coverage — a lot of things go into it, and if the guy is a little unsure, he may be a little slower to react to it," Sherman said. "Then, once they grasp it, then they are a lot quicker."

Sherman earned considerable praise last season for his role in the development of emerging star Miles Austin, who burst out as the team's best wide receiver in 2009. Now, Sherman said he expects even more out of Austin, in part because he (Sherman) will try to confuse defenses by moving his receivers around in different spots in the offense, especially Austin, who will play some slot receiver this season.

"Miles is fine — he has done that before," Sherman said. "Him, Patrick (Crayton), Sam (Hurd), throwing Kevin (Ogletree) in there, Roy (Williams) some … those guys are playing in that position.

"(Austin) may see less double coverage in there because they have to know where he is. If you have him in the same spot all the time, they can gameplan to take him away. That is why you have to be able to move him around."

The common assumption is that aside from Bryant, all of the receiver spots will be filled by returning veterans. While the coaches basically know what they have in Austin, Williams, Crayton and Hurd, the most pleasant surprise at the position last season was Ogletree, who came on late in the season to infuse the passing game with a jolt of speed and athleticism.

"He is good — doing fine," Sherman said of Ogletree. "I told him to stay consistent. You don't want to be a guy who does something well (and) then get a couple plays (and) then you are doing something else. You want to be consistent.

"When his opportunity comes into play, he goes in there. Then he has to run his route, (and) then, when the quarterback is going through his progression and if he is the open guy, he is going to go to hi. He will get his chances. He has gotten his chances in camp."

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