Sherman nosed out by Jauron

Buffalo Bills set to name Dick Jauron as next head coach

Unless Mike Sherman wants to wear silver and black and answer to Al Davis, the former Green Bay Packers coach will have to wait until next year if he wants a second chance to be an NFL head coach.

The Buffalo Bills on Sunday were close to naming Dick Jauron as their new coach. Jauron and the Bills were meeting to iron out details on a contract.

Of the 10 coaching openings this off-season, only the Raiders job remains open. Sherman's name, however, has not been mentioned as a candidate, and it's hard to imagine the authoritarian Sherman would want to work for the authoritarian and eccentric Davis.

Jauron and Sherman were the only serious candidates to replace Mike Mularkey, who surprisingly resigned as the Bills' coach two weeks ago. Others interviewed, however, include former Packers and Bills receiver James Lofton. Lofton is wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Bills owner Ralph Wilson was impressed with Sherman, but new Bills general manager Marv Levy — the coach who led them to four Super Bowls in the 1990s — supported Jauron. Levy was a color commentator on the Bears' radio network during Jauron's stint in Chicago.

Sherman would have brought a few intangibles.

First, he considered drafting quarterback J.P. Losman in the first round of the 2004 draft. The Packers held the 25th pick, but Buffalo traded into the No. 22 slot to grab Losman, who Sherman compared in some ways to Brett Favre.

Second, it was a distinct possibility Sherman would have been able to recruit Jim Bates to be his defensive coordinator. Bates, passed up by the Packers in their head-coaching search this month, turned one of the worst defenses in the league into the NFL's seventh-ranked unit.

Third, Sherman had doubled as the Packers' general manager, and he could have been a big help to the 80-year-old Levy in that capacity.

Fourth, Sherman has a winning resume. He went 57-39 in six seasons in Green Bay, even with a 4-12 mark this past season. Among those 57 wins, Sherman went 7-1 against Jauron's Bears.

The Packers rewarded Sherman with a two-year, $6.4 million guaranteed contract extension last August.

"I came here with a losing record," Levy said. "Bill Belichick went to New England with a losing record. Mike Shanahan went to Denver off of a losing record in Oakland. Record alone doesn't tell the whole story. This is no putdown on Mike, with whom I have high regard, but he did have better personnel with which to work."

Jauron, meantime, went 35-46 in five seasons with the Chicago Bears, though he won coach-of-the-year honors when Chicago finished 13-3 in 2001.

Jauron was the Detroit Lions' defensive coordinator the last two years, including 2005, when he went 1-4 as interim coach after Steve Mariucci was fired in late November.

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