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Bucs foot dragging will impact their ability to hire a staff for new head coach

They were among the first to fire and now the last to hire.

The agonizingly slow pace of the Bucs' search for a new head coach -- 23 days and counting -- won't be without consequence.

With the Indianapolis Colts hiring of Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as their head coach Wednesday, the Bucs are the last NFL team to be without a leader of their football team.

What that means is they've lost all leverage in their ability to hire assistant coaches. Staffs are being hired in Jacksonville, Miami, Oakland, St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Any assistant coach worth his salt who has an opportunity pending with a formulating staff has no reason now to wait on the Bucs. For starters, it's impossible to predict which candidate has an edge. Former Packers and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is the only known candidate to have a second interview with the Glazers. There certainly could be more.

While the Bucs say they're making progress, they are still 13 days shy of the record head coaching search by the Glazer family that culminated with the costly trade with the Raiders for Jon Gruden. In that instance, Gruden was fortunate that the team had kept the entire defensive staff that worked under Tony Dungy under contract. They also had already hired Bill Muir as offensive line coach prior to Gruden's arrival.

The Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII in Gruden's first season, but the price tag was two No. 1 picks, two No. 2 picks and $8-million that prevented a veteran team from reloading. NFL rules doesn't permit coaches to be traded anymore.

Sherman is unemployed but reportedly a candidate to become the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under new coach Joe Philbin. Former Vikings coach Brad Childress, another Bucs head coaching candidate, might be a candidate for the position of offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. He also could join Sherman's staff in Tampa Bay if a decision is made soon.

There's probably not many coaching options for 68-year-old Marty Schottenheimer. The Bucs other candidates -- Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements -- are under contract with other teams. Frustration is building within those staffs because head coaches are well into their plans for 2012.

Leverage is important in hiring a coaching staff. The best assistant coaches have or are in the process of being gobbled up simply because it's not unlike a game of musical chairs. The Glazers want to hire the best head coach for their team and that's understandable. The decision by Oregon's Chip Kelly to reverse course and remain with the Bucs early Monday was a set back. The result could be the loss of an opportunity to hire the best coaching staff.