Monday, January 10, 2011

What would Rivera be like as a coach?

I'm working on a column for Tuesday's newspaper and online about Ron Rivera, the San Diego defensive coordinator who has emerged as the frontrunner for the Carolina Panthers' head-coaching job.

Rivera looks like he will be the guy, barring a last-minute snag. So I've been reading up on him, trying to fill in some biographical details. Here are a few of the things I've found out (and here's a link to the full column, now posted):

-- Rivera, 49, played for nine years for the Chicago Bears as a linebacker, including on the 1985 Bears team that was one of the best of all time. Former teammate Walter Payton gave him a key recommendation to get Rivera’s foot in the door as a Bears’ assistant many years ago.

-- Rivera comes from a military family. He has three brothers and the family lived a somewhat nomadic life, including a stint in Germany. His heritage is both Puerto Rican (his father’s side) and Mexican (his mother’s). He was such a heady player that in high school his head coach has been quoted as saying he used to let Rivera call the defenses on the field.

-- Rivera’s wife Stephanie is a basketball coach. She was once an assistant in the WNBA and has lately been coaching on the high-school level in California. So they are a “two-coach” family, and some girls’ basketball team in the Charlotte area may get an overqualified coach pretty soon.

-- As a coach, Rivera is not a screamer. Those who know him describe him as calm under pressure. He has described himself as a “nitpicker.” A film-study junkie since high school, he is a longtime perfectionist. Rivera’s defenses haven’t been perfect, of course. The Chargers were No.1 in yardage allowed in 2010 among all defenses. But in two critical late-season losses, that defense gave up 251 yards rushing to Oakland and four TD passes to a Cincinnati team missing Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. Not coincidentally, San Diego missed the playoffs this season.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds just like John Fox.

Anonymous said...

It is, what it is..... again?

David P said...

So Scott what makes him the best choice for JR?

Anonymous said...

As a life-long Chargers fan, and a wanna be Panthers fan, this is an EXCELLENT hire. I desperately want to see a high flying offense in Carolina, and a solid OC can give us that. But Rivera is a leader and demands the locker room and his players will play hard for him. I get that fans don't want another DC hired as coach, but everyone will see eventually that this is a huge WIN for Charlotte. Congrats, Panther fans!

Anonymous said...

Jerry Richardson has lost his mind. Seriously, I think Jerry has lost the ability to think rationally. A combination of his age and health issues. It was clear at the press conference that he is a little absent. This hiring just confirms that. How is this guy any different than Foxy?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter that this guy is a DC or how his defenses played: he'll have his own OC and DC to handle that. What matters is whether or not he chooses the best personnel to be his assistants, and is willing to work with the players he gets. If he can do that, he'll be a far cry better than Fox.

DBIGCAT said...

Anonymous 7:22

Rather than constantly complaining and making derogatory comments about Mr. Richardson, why don't you give it a chance and see how things work out. Besides, there's nothing you can do about it!

If that doesn't work for you, well, then, as the old saying goes, don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

John said...

You have to remember that this is a very immature NFL city... people still judge from appearance without understanding that a head coach lives and dies by the OC and DC he hires.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of the lack of knowledge of local "fans". They are going to be PO'd no matter what the team does!

Anonymous said...

Mark Richardson commented on an interview that he thinks Ronnie is a very 'sexy' pick ........

Anonymous said...

Heck let just hire Morgan Fogerty at least she would be nice to look at, and she probably know more about football than any of the hires Marty Hurney is considering. Or better yet let her take Marty Hurney's job.

pantherfan38 said...

I think this could be a very good decision,I thought at one time that I did not want another defensive coach,but I cannot stand it when high octane offenses run all over the panthers.We need a good OC and that seems to be a priority,along with a good QB coach and things will be just fine.I am glad Rip is gone!

AL B said...

I like this pick for HC; Rivera was a stud player and has been very successful as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Players will immediately respect him. The key is finding a good OC and DC to work under him.
Because he came from SD, I get the feeling that he will want to find a QB that reminds him of Rivers or from his playing days (McMahon).
I think Rivera deserves this opportunity and I think this is a good thing for the Panthers.

Anonymous said...

Not gonna change a thing, he was the cheap way out for Richarson!! wow panthers go 4-12 next years at best!!

Anonymous said...

This guy has been the DC for a division winner with rookie Kyle Orton at quarterback and DC for a division winner with Phillip Rivers at quarterback. I hope his offensive philosophy is as aggressive as his defensive philosophy. This assumes that we get a quarterback.

par said...

This could be a sound move, IF he hires a credible offensive coordinator, such as Tom Clements - current quarterback coach at Green Bay.

Anonymous said...

I know none of this will happen but here goes:

Rivera - HC
McDaniels - OC
Meeks - DC
Bring in Kolb for a 2-yr deal, Clausen matures and takes over in 2014.
Smith traded for a 2nd pick (A stretch, I know) and pick up a QB.
Get Fairly 1st pick.

Anonymous said...

I won't say whether or not this is a good hire because I don't know, time will tell. I will say I don't understand the rush to sign him given there are good coaches still in the playoffs but whatever. Don't even get me started on why they didn't even interview Bill Cowher but JR scared off Andrew Luck so no doubt Cowher probably would've declined and interview anyway after that presser. Boring and mediocre, that's what we're cursed to be until that old fart keels over.

par said...

To the post above:

Rivera - HC
McDaniels - OC
Meeks - DC
Bring in Kolb for a 2-yr deal, Clausen matures and takes over in 2014.
Smith traded for a 2nd pick (A stretch, I know) and pick up a QB.
Get Fairly 1st pick.

Agree, Kolb wants out of Philly, Matt Flynn is another option from Green Bay and otherwise "I would pick Bowers over Fairly"

Anonymous said...

At first, I was also frustrated to hear that we're bringing in another DC. But, I honestly don't think a "defensive" guy or "offensive" guy is really the issue. We need coaches that can develop personnel, gameplan week to week, and make in-game adjustments. That's where Fox really struggled. Apart from Williams and Stewart, we struggled to develop our draft picks at skill positions (think of all the QBs and WRs we drafted that never improved). Fox also failed to develop unique gameplans from week to week - he just went out and tried to do the same thing regardless of the opponent. Fox was also really bad at making in-game adjustments. I can't tell you how many times we went into the half with a lead or tied only to come out and get blown out the second half. Rivera needs to fix those problems - whether he's got offensive or defensive pedigree is not as big of a deal.

Anonymous said...

To post above,"...and otherwise 'I would pick Bowers over Fairly'"

Although I think Bowers is a heck of a DE, I think we need more help at DT. Johnson played great this year and Brayton is a serviceable player. I just think DT is a bigger need for us at this time than DE. Although, AJ Greene is an intriguing option. If we only had a 2nd round pick, I think Newton or Mallet could fall that far.

John said...

Rivera may be a good coach. But is he really so much better than guys still coaching that we have to rush and sign him? As far as I can tell we are the only ones pursuing him. What is the hurry? Worried if we don't hire him fast people will ask why we didn't hire someone like Mularkey that has head coaching experience and has developed a young QB when he becomes available? Seriously what's the big hurry?

Anonymous said...

what in the hell is wrong with you people clamoring for Meeks? - The LAST thing we want is to keep going that stupid bend dont break route. Meeks is an idiot, and our defense sucked. --
And quit saying Clausen will EVER be a decent QB. We are a victim of Hurney buying into Charlie Weiss lies and hpe, spewed out about Jimmy being NFL ready. Weiss was leaving Notre Dame and he was trying to help Jimmy get a job. Kiper even got bribed to rate him high.

I wish Jimmy Clausen would read all the posts about his sorry lame non-skilled self and disappear.

The only pick worse than this joke is Armanti Edwards.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott, your picture looks sorta metrosexual, don't you think?

You look like you belong on some sort of sicko personal ad on Craigs List

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who recognises the most glaring need? Fix the O-Line. No consistency in the run game and the pocket forever collapsing on the qb. Fix that and watch the Panthers flourish.

Anonymous said...

people have faith, y bash him now let the season ride its to early to decide

Kenneth said...

I think this will be the best hire that we could have made if we are going the coordinator route. Rivera has been one of the hottest names for a couple of years. We just have to hit a home run with the offensive coordinator period. And we can't let Rivera dictate the offensive play-calling like Fox did. Also, bringing Ron Meeks back would be an excelent idea. Meeks did the best job with the least talent of any defensive coordinator we have had.

Anonymous said...

How in the world do any of you guys (or gals) know whether or not this guy will be good or bad? I see so many people on here posting pure speculation and opinion based on absolutely nothing. Seriously, if you dont do your homework, dont post your opinion and broadcast your ignorance on here.

As for Rivera, who knows what he will be like but he cant be any worse than Fox, and JR has already said, point blank, that the OC and QB coaches will be given a lot of scrutiny before being hired, so obviously things will be different than in the past.

By the way, the last sentence was based on FACT and not OPINION for those of you who dont know the difference.

GO PANTHERS

Anonymous said...

Rivera's my favorite pick...of the guys that have been discussed. I still think the search has been too narrow. Not even a look at Harbaugh? Or a more offensive minded coach? I really thought Richardson was terribly obnoxious when asked about Harbaugh with his "nice man" comment and am still not convinced that didn't have anything to do with Luck wanting to stay in school. Richardson really didn't portray himself as the kind of boss one would want to play for. I always blamed Fox for the slow-moving conservatism of this team, but now i'm starting to realize its at higher levels of this organization.

That being said, i'm still cautiously optimistic about Rivera. Hopefully he can loosen things up around there a bit.

Anonymous said...

Carolina fans just don't get it. Fox was and still is a great coach. There are 32 teams in the NFL and not all of them have a Cowher or a Gruden or a Belichick coaching it. Take Atlanta for instance, Mike Smith was a relatively unknown COORDINATOR before arriving as HC of the Falcons. He and his coordinators have done a great job. The same can and will happen here. Drafting the right players is what gets your team better and Hurney does not have a clue. Charlotte is lucky to have a NFL franchise and you better hope it stays in Charlotte. Shut your pie hole, back your team thru good times and bad and maybe 10 years from now Charlotte will still have a NFL franchise. Maybe a Super Bowl contender at that!

Anonymous said...

If Rivera is hired, JR should immediately dispatch him to Stanford and Marty to West Virginia to change the minds of Andrew Luck and his father. We have almost four days-What's to lose?

Bobbyb4 said...

We hire a DC who can't get into the playoffs with a QB like Rivers...a man who almost got fired 2 years ago? Must have been pretty cheap. I guess we'll trade for Hainesworth next. JR has lost it. I hope Meeks goes to a good team.