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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching search raises vexing issues

49ERS 36, SAINTS 32: Vernon Davis' 14-yard catch with nine seconds left — the game's fourth touchdown over the final 4:02 — puts San Francisco into the NFC title game. 4C

Wade said no.

And you said, "Whew.''

That alone should tell you something about Phillips and something about the team that was interested in hiring him. What it says are bad things about both parties.

Phillips, after all, is a man who has spent a lot of years proving he was not a satisfactory head coach, and this was probably his final chance at a head coaching position. Despite that, Phillips said never mind. Perhaps the idea of another Wade Phillips hire sounded as uninspired to him as it did to you.

Fisher said no way.

And you said, "Huh?''

That should tell you something about Jeff Fisher, and it should tell you something about a team that wasn't worth either side interviewing the other. It is flattering for neither.

Fisher, we can agree, is about 100 pounds of hype in a 50-pound bag. Again, he's a nice coach, but when did six playoff seasons in 17 years merit a bidding war? Still, the Rams sounded good to him, and the Dolphins sounded interesting.

But the Bucs weren't worth considering. Which leads us to this:

Isn't there anyone who wants this job? And if so, do you want them? Remember when Groucho Marx said he would never join a club that would have him as a member? Evidently, that club is the Bucs. And Groucho is just old enough to interview.

Over the last week, we have learned a great deal about the Bucs, mainly that a lot of people don't think working for them sounds like a great deal. That's a little unsettling. You keep waiting for the Bucs to say no to coaches such as Phillips, and for crying out loud, he's saying no first. Frankly, if any of the 32 NFL teams want to interview Phillips, he should show up 15 minutes early and he should bring pizza.

So what else have we learned?

We have learned the Bucs don't quite understand the Rooney Rule. No, it does not mean you have to interview candidates as old as Andy Rooney.

We have learned Wilford Brimley has no interest in coaching.

We have learned the Bucs are so smart, they have a whole list of candidates no one else was smart enough to interview.

We have learned the Bucs are interested in coaches that even Texas A&M threw away.

We have learned Marty Schottenheimer is still alive. Who knew?

We have learned the Bucs found the perfect way to make Mike Zimmer and Rob Chudzinski sound like great candidates … by interviewing the old guys first.

Most of all, however, we have learned the Bucs job, despite a talented young quarterback and a promising defensive line, might not sound quite as attractive as some might have you believe. Just asking here, but could it be that some coaches don't see the stability or the track record of spending that helps make winning possible? Why else?

Shouldn't the Bucs be asking these same questions? Why wouldn't the best candidates be willing to mud wrestle each other for the Bucs job? If not money, if not organization, what is lacking?

Here's a question, too? Is there a candidate on the interview list who is going to tempt you into buying tickets?

Schottenheimer? Without ques­tion, he has the best resume of any of the candidates who have been mentioned publicly. It's just that resume was written in hieroglyphics on an ancient scroll.

Granted, if Schottenheimer was a few years younger, he might be a slam dunk for the Bucs. He won in Cleveland, and he won in Kansas City, and he won in San Diego, and he was great in the movie Cocoon. None of those franchises quite recovered from his firing.

As it is, the Bucs could do worse as far as a guy to grab the attention of a young team and point it in the right direction. Schottenheimer wouldn't be here for a decade, but if you plan to change coaches again in 3-4 years, he's worth considering.

Sherman, for whatever reason, seems to be considered the favorite. After a 25-25 stint at Texas A&M, it is not quite clear why.

Chudzinski? Zimmer? At least other teams will talk to these guys. And they should. Both had good seasons this year. But does either have the weight to impress the Bucs players? Or, for that matter, you?

And so the search continues. We'll see if there are better nominees to announce.

Curly Lambeau, for instance.

I bet he would leap at the chance.

For the latest on the Bucs' coaching search, go to or follow on Twitter at @BucsBeat.

Today's division games

AFC: Texans at Ravens, 1,

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

TV/radio: Ch. 10; 1010-AM

Line: Ravens by 7½

Weather: 35, sunny, no chance of rain

NFC: Giants at Packers, 4:30,

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.

TV/radio: Ch. 13; 1010-AM

Line: Packers by 7½

Weather: 29, mostly cloudy, 16 mph winds, slight chance of snow

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching search raises vexing issues 01/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:29pm]
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