Eagles are interviewing Ron Rivera for defensive coordinator. Report – NBC Sports Philadelphia
After officially firing Sean Desai this weekend, the Eagles begin their search to find a new defensive coordinator and are starting with a familiar face.
Eagles interview former Commanders coach Ron Rivera for open D.C. position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler mentioned.
Rivera, 62, has extensive NFL coaching experience, which includes a five-year stint under Andy Reid as running backs coach in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2003. He was recently fired as head coach of the Leaders after four seasons. Before that, he was the head coach of the Panthers for nine seasons.
Although Rivera has not been a defensive coordinator since 2010, he recently expressed his desire to return to coaching, even if it means serving as defensive coordinator.
“I have a lot of opportunities now,” Rivera told ESPN this month. “I just want to make sure it’s the right one.”
During the 2023 season, Rivera fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and regained control of the defense. He said he enjoyed being a defensive tackle again.
“Sometimes you have to step back,” Rivera told ESPN. “You take a step back to learn and grow from it. Like I said to the other players, if you look at this year as a lost year, you’re (hurting) yourself. You’ve got to look at it as a learning and learning year.” “I understand why things happen. This was probably the greatest learning experience I’ve had in a while this year. I mean a lot of things came to light at certain times last season and I think moving forward it will really help me.”
During his NFL career as a head coach, Rivera compiled a record of 102-103-2 but was much better in a stable position in Carolina, where he went 76-63-1 in charge of the Panthers.
Rivera was on a legendary initial coaching staff under the Big Red in 1999 that was filled with future head coaches: Rivera, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Pat Shurmur, Steve Spagnuolo, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier and David Cooley. He also played under Buddy Ryan in Chicago and coached under Jim Johnson in Philadelphia.
After leaving the Eagles after the 2003 season, Rivera was the DC of the Bears for three seasons and eventually became the DC of the Chargers for three seasons before landing the head coaching job in Carolina in 2011.
Here’s a look at where his defenses ranked during his final three years as D.C. president:
2010 Chargers: 10th in points, 1st in yards
2009 Chargers: 11th in points, 16th in yards
2008 Chargers: 15th in points, 25th in yards
Rivera has clearly helped the Chargers get things going on defense.
As a candidate in Philadelphia, what appeals to Rivera is that he is a candidate with the experience he has in the NFL. The Eagles went with a relatively inexperienced candidate last year with Desai and stripped him of his power in December to hand the reins to the more experienced Matt Patricia, which had disastrous results.
Hiring Rivera would certainly provide some stability on the field and in the locker room. An experienced coach like Rivera can essentially be the head coach on that side of the football, freeing up Nick Sirianni even more. It is worth noting that it was Sirianni who fired Desai, which is another strong indication that he will return for the 2024 season.
In addition to Rivera, we’ve also heard about other potential candidates for the DC job. The Athletic’s Diana Russini reported that the Eagles recently reached out to Wink Martindale and Ryan Nielsen about the opening. All three known potential candidates have D.C. experience.
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