MOBILE, Ala. — One notable fact about the Bucs' coaching search was revealed Tuesday: Beyond Mike Sherman, none of the other candidates known to have interviewed have been contacted about follow-up interviews or to be eliminated from the process.
That leaves Sherman as the only known finalist from at least eight interviews. That could provide the strongest indication yet that Sherman has an inside track at the job.
One possible caveat: the Bucs could be secretly negotiating with another candidate, as they were last week with University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Barring that scenario, Sherman — the former Packers and Texas A&M coach — is the leader in a one-horse race.
News that the team is making progress will be welcomed by those affected by the length of the process.
That includes Panthers coach Ron Rivera, whose offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, is a candidate. Rivera, attending practices for the Senior Bowl, bemoaned that he hadn't heard anything since Chudzinski's interview. He hopes for a resolution — quick.
"Believe me, I'd love to know just so we can go forward," Rivera said. "We've got a lot of things we have to do and we've kind of put (them) off during this whole period."
Rivera noted his team's offense could change without Chudzinski, a main reason he'd like some closure.
On the interest in Chudzinski, Rivera said, "I think a lot of it is just curiosity. … I think a lot of people don't know about him. I think what's happening right now is people are trying to find out about him.
"I think when you look at the body of work, we just had some success."
Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, also a candidate, attended Tuesday's practices but declined comment.
NO HIDING IT: Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, coaching the South in Saturday's game, was asked how closely he's watching the quarterbacks given his team's apparent lack of a franchise quarterback. He left little doubt the position is on his radar.
"I think everybody wants a franchise quarterback," he said. "If you don't have a franchise quarterback and you say you're not looking for one, then you usually won't be working very long. … The people who do have that guy are consistently winning. So, you're always looking for that guy, but it's easier said than done."