Head Scratcher: Rivera Bolted from Bears; Lands in San Diego

In one of the more interesting moves on the coaching front this offseason, the Chicago Bears Monday announced that defensive coordinator Ron Rivera will not be brought back at the teams D-coach for the 2007 season. Quickly moving, the Chargers, who earlier in the day had hired Norv Turner as their new head coach and Ted Cottrell as their defensive coordinator, snatched up Rivera to be their new linebackers coach. The move is somewhat puzzling, considering that Rivera had been up for numerous NFL head coaching jobs. In the past two seasons, he had talked to eight different NFL teams about their head coaching spot.

Is it possible that Bears head coach Lovie Smith soured on all the attention that Rivera was getting as the man behind his defense? Or was Smith peeved at how the defense played down the stretch of both the regular season and playoffs? The Bears defense, which was solid and punishing early in the season, seemed to have some cracks once the cold weather hit, and in the biggest game of the season just over two weeks ago, the defense could not stop the running game of the Colts, which was a key to why the Bears are not Champions today.

Rivera deflected comments about a possible “personality conflict” with Smith about the way the defense was being run. “No, no, no, no, please. I don’t think there is, I really don’t,” Rivera stated about that possibility. “I believe this is just a football decision and it was made. I’m disappointed in not getting the opportunity to come back in ’07 because as I said at the end of the year after the loss that this is a football team that is headed in the right direction.”

Now the former Bears linebacker and coach will get a shot to coach a group of linebackers that were very solid in the 2006 season in San Diego. It’s a team that won 14 games in the regular season, and with the talent they have, there should be no reason why the Chargers could not be right back on top of the AFC West in 2007. “It’s just time to move on again, so I will move on and I will prosper,” Rivera said Monday. Will he prosper enough to garner more looks as a possible head coach in 2008? Or has that time already passed him by?

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One Response to “Head Scratcher: Rivera Bolted from Bears; Lands in San Diego”

  1. Larry says:

    This should not come as a surprise to anyone.
    Rivera interviewed with (9) count them 9, different clubs and not one picked him up as a headcoach. This is stunning given that over the last couple years so many young coaches have been given a chance with no headcoaching experience- and done well. No one had any better credentials.
    Played on one of the best defenses ever. Played and won in the Super Bowl.
    Been coaching 8-9 years and for the last 3 Defensive co-ordinator for a top5 defensive team in NFL (last 2 yrs). Went to playoffs 2 yrs in a row and just came off Super Bowl.

    Well, there are a lot of coaches that could have done the same with the talent Chi has on defense. And Rivera wasn’t able to adjust in the Carolina game last yr and couldn’t adjust this year when a couple of players went down on defense.
    Maybe Lovie is the reason since they say Lovie is the mind behind the defense- Maybe we ought to get rid of Lovie too. I don’t think he’s that good either.