Our fearless leader Will Leitch is on vacation for one more day, which means that we can speculate rampantly on the next Arizona Cardinals head coach without fear of nail gun puncture wounds. May we say right at the outset, Steve Mariucci? Ha, that felt good.

The actual frontrunner seems to be former Packers boss Mike Sherman, if only because of the six early candidates officially named by the team, he is the only one who has an interview scheduled. Of course, by "six early candidates" the Cardinals could mean "six guys who did not shriek in terror like a schoolgirl when we contacted them." We can't be sure.

Let's face it, this is one tough gig. Owner Bill Bidwill tends to go into each season with no apparent exit strategy, picking head coaches similar to the way that Pedro Cerrano chooses bats. Jim Hanifan, Joe Bugel, Bud Wilkinson; it's a distinguished and storied list. But isn't it time that Bidwill comes to his senses and picks someone, um, good? New stadium, new attitude and all of that? Norm Chow would be a wise choice in our humble opinion.

And Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke on Tuesday was all over the Pete Carroll angle, positing scenarios such as a piece of team ownership as an incentive for him to leave USC. Wow. We can imagine a lot of things, but we just can't picture Carroll seeing this on the tarmac and agreeing to get on board. — RC

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Thanks to Boi From Troy for the swell graphic, by the way.

Early Candidates For Cardinals' Job [Arizona Repubic]
Carroll Saves His Best Coaching Job For ... His Last USC Game? [Los Angeles Times]
It's The Arizona Cardinals Plane! Perfectly Safe! All Aboard, Everyone! [Deadspin]