Of the 13 known candidates interviewed by the Chicago Bears for their head coaching vacancy, at least one expects the club to settle on one of the last four to meet with general manager Phil Emery.
That group consists of offensive coordinators Tom Clements (Green Bay), Rick Dennison (Houston), Darrell Bevell (Seattle), and Bruce Arians (Indianapolis).
"I would bet on one of the last four candidates," said one of the coaches who had already been interviewed.
The Bears are looking for an offensive-minded coach and have told candidates they plan to bring two to Halas Hall this week for second interviews, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Some of the candidates have been informed they won't be brought back for second interviews.
Clements, 59, became offensive coordinator of the Packers this season after spending the previous six years as the club's quarterbacks coach and met Thursday with the Bears to discuss the coaching vacancy.
Clements started three years at quarterback for Notre Dame, where he led the Irish to a national championship in 1973, and played 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League. Clements has also served as quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints (1997-99), Kansas City Chiefs (2000), Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03) and as offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills (2004-05).
Working with Clements, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers set the NFL single-season record for passer rating (122.5) in 2011, in addition to passing for 17,037 yards during his first four years as a starter.
Dennison, who served as Denver's offensive coordinator from 2006-2008
-- the first three years of Cutler's career and the one (2008) in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl after passing for 4,500 yards and being sacked just 11 times -- met Friday with the Bears, two days before his team fell to the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional playoffs.
Emery met with Bevell on Saturday in Atlanta, a day before the Seahawks fell to the Falcons in the NFC divisional round. Bevell started his NFL coaching career in 2000, before joining the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 as offensive coordinator.
Bevell took over for current Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in
2011 as offensive coordinator in Seattle, where he's played a key role in the development of quarterback Russell Wilson, who appears to be a contender for NFL rookie of the year honors.
Arians, meanwhile, met with Emery on Sunday to conclude what appears to be the first phase of the interview process.
Working with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Arians, 60, garnered consideration for NFL coach of the year after taking over as interim head coach after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and leading the Colts to a 9-3 record. Arians missed Indianapolis'
opening-round playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens after falling ill with an inner-ear infection.
Veteran NFL offensive coordinator and current head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes Marc Trestman also still figures to be in the mix.
A team spokesman said on Monday it's unlikely the Bears will announce finalists during the search for a head coach as the team plans to maintain its policy adopted during the search of not commenting on any aspect of the process.