What do you do if it turns out to be Mike Sherman?
After you yawn, of course.
After all the names, after all the interviews, after all the days of wandering around the country looking for a new coach, what if the Bucs end up hiring the rather uninspiring Sherman? Do you pump your fist into the air? Do you race to the ticket window to see if any are left? Or do you bring in Warren Sapp to yell a little more?
Let's agree on this: There are worse choices than Sherman; not that that's anything a coach wants to put on his answering machine.
"Hi, you've reached Mike Sherman. I'm not in right now, but there were worse choices than me.''
To be fair, Sherman had success at Green Bay before being fired in 2005. His teams reached four straight playoffs, and onlookers liked his organization and his work ethic. Looking back, his failures as a general manager did him in as much as his coaching.
That said, there is also a bit of "bleh'' to the notion of the Bucs hiring Sherman. Hire Sherman, and not a lot of people think "Okay, the Bucs are on their way now.''
Perhaps you heard the mostly entertaining rant by former Bucs quarterback Shaun King on his radio show. To sum it up, King said anyone who argued with Warren Sapp shouldn't be considered to be the Bucs coach. But, heck, who hasn't argued with Warren? If you could put everyone who ever argued with Warren inside RayJay, there wouldn't be a blackout problem.
I still think Sherman was wrong to try to dress down another team's player, but that wouldn't make me not hire Sherman. This would: Sherman was 25-25 in four seasons at Texas A&M, which doesn't exactly excite you. Of those 25 losses, A&M gave up 30 points or more in 16 of them. In 2011, the Aggies went into the season ranked eighth in the country and finished 7-6.
Even worse, they led in every game. Against Texas, they were ahead by nine at the half. Against Missouri, they were ahead by 11. Against Oklahoma State, they were ahead by 17. Against Arkansas, they were ahead by 18. And they lost all four games.
Hire Sherman, and yeah, it might work out. But know this: It won't just be Sapp shouting.
What would you do if it is Marty Schottenheimer?
Besides make a joke about how old he is?
Do you cheer? Do you high-five your office co-worker? Do you exchange memories about how good Schottenheimer was back when he coached the Frankford Yellow Jackets?
Maybe you smile.
I know, I know. Schottenheimer will turn 69 in September, which is roughly the age of most of the grandfathers of Bucs players. No NFL head coach has ever lasted past the age of 72.
As far as criticism, what else do you have?
Yeah, yeah, Marty has some age on him. A lot of age. On the other hand, he won in Cleveland, and he won in Kansas City, and he won in San Diego. Yes, he could have done better in the playoffs, but the Bucs are a long way from that being an issue.
Hey, Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was sworn in as president of the United States. Noah Webster published his first dictionary when he was 69. For crying out loud, Paul McCartney is 69.
In other words, if I ran the Bucs, I wouldn't eliminate Schottenheimer simply because of his age. The guy has won 200 games. The Bucs, in their history, have won 222.
Yeah, Marty makes some sense. He could even have Monte Kiffin's old office, Betty Grable poster and all. Besides, think of how good a story it would be if Schottenheimer got his first Super Bowl ring here.
What do you do if it is Mike Zimmer? Or Rob Chudzinski? Or Tom Clements? Or Jerry Gray?
After you wonder why these guys who have never been head coaches may be better than the last guy who had never been a head coach.
Personally, I love what I hear about Zimmer. According to ProFootballTalk.com, there are some in the league who think that Zimmer is too blunt. Too blunt? Now that's something you put on a business card. Right next to "too loud'' and "too disciplined.''
Hey, this is a job that demands blunt. How else are you going to get the attention of a locker room such as the Bucs?
The other guys are tomorrow's coaches. A franchise would have to be knocked over to hire either. Which, I suppose, is possible. Someone around here needs to get knocked over, preferably the opposing quarterback.
What do you do if it is a mystery candidate? Someone else like Chip Kelly?
First, you make sure the contract is signed.
Let's be honest.
Kelly wasn't a guaranteed success. College coaches never are. He would have had to cut back on his offense, and he would have had to hire the right staff to make his transition to the NFL more like Jim Harbaugh and less like Steve Spurrier.
But there were some good things, too, to the wooing of Kelly. For one, it showed the Bucs' search is deeper than the headlines. It showed the Bucs were thinking outside the box. It showed they were willing to spend.
Now, about that job offer to Nick Saban …
Kidding, kidding. But if I owned an NFL team, I wouldn't shut the door on the college coach. Some have been good, some have been bad. You can say the same thing about retreads or coordinators.
In the meantime, we wait. Let's face it: The Raiders may get around to hiring another head coach before the Bucs decide on theirs.
Someday, they will hire someone. Someday, we will see white smoke from the chimney. Eventually, the Bucs will find a guy who will earn their trust.