Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rivera, another defensive-minded coach, a bit of an unknown quantity

Ron Rivera, the new coach of Charlotte's Panthers, is confusing to me. I've heard that he doesn't interview well for jobs and that's why he hasn't gotten a head coaching job until now. By all accounts, he did well at his press conference and by all accounts, former players like him and see him as a great motivator.

He supposedly didn't get along with Bears coach Lovie Smith. In fact, there were reports that the two had to be separated from a physical altercation. Rivera, despite many Bears fans preferring him over Smith, got the ax in Chicago a few years ago.

Rivera is certainly a solid defensive coach but, as Redskins fans know, Jim Zorn was a solid offensive coach too. It doesn't always translate to being a good head coach.

Rivera may turn out to be a solid pick but many Panther fans (after four straight defensive-minded coaches hired as the head man) understandably would have liked a higher-profile, offensive-minded guy like Harbaugh (who wasn't considered).

Perhaps Rivera can put together a good staff to get the offense moving again. (Names floating around for offensive coordinator are Rob Chudzinski, Marc Trestman and Ron Turner.)

While I would like to see Russ Grimm get a head coaching job somewhere, insiders speak highly of Rivera and he'll have a young team to mold. It doesn't take as long to turn NFL teams around anymore so anything is possible. And, remember, the Panthers have the first pick.

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