The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are weeks into a head coaching search that doesn't seem to have an end in sight, but a prominent NFL insider said fans needn't be concerned about the methodical pace of the pursuit.
Even as the Indianapolis Colts joined the hunt for a new coach following the dismissal Tuesday of Jim Caldwell, NBC and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said the Bucs' ultimate goal still can be attained.
"I think the overwhelming concern is to get the right guy for the job, and for me, if that takes you one week or one month, it doesn't matter — just so long as you get the right guy," Mayock said.
"I mean, you're going to pay this guy a lot of money and you're going to entrust him with the future of your franchise along with your general manager, so you better get the right guy, no matter how long it takes."
The Bucs apparently took steps toward that end again Tuesday, when they were scheduled to meet with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
The team's search for a replacement for Raheem Morris isn't likely to end there, though. An ESPN report also has the Bucs lining up interviews with Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Philbin is one of three finalists for the Miami job, according to the Miami Herald. However, the newspaper reported Zimmer is no longer being considered.
And with the Bucs possibly interested in speaking to candidates working for teams still in the playoffs, there's a chance the search could go into next week or beyond.
That's not completely out of the ordinary for them. The Bucs' current owners hired their first coach, Tony Dungy, on Jan. 22, 1996, and hired his replacement, Jon Gruden, on Feb. 18, 2002.
One reason the Bucs could wait to hire a coach is because the official start of the league year and free agency is Feb. 13, nearly two weeks later than usual. That and the fact they can't begin their offseason workout program until April 2 gives the Bucs a little more time to search for a coach and do what Mayock calls "self scouting." Mayock said that is a process by which teams garner outside opinions about their team by interviewing them for prominent positions within their organization.
"In any business, information is good," he said. "And I don't think that's what's driving the process there. I do know that people like to think that, but I really believe what's driving the process is getting the right guy.
"But still, if you're interviewing somebody who you played against this year and you ask him what did you like about us, what did you not like about us, that gives you a different perspective, and that's smart."