Eagles reportedly interviewing Ron Rivera for DC job

Eagles reportedly interviewing Ron Rivera for DC job originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

After formally firing Sean Desai this weekend, the Eagles are launching their search to find a new defensive coordinator and they’re starting with a familiar face.

The Eagles are interviewing former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera for the open DC position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported.

Rivera, 62, has significant NFL coaching experience, which includes a five-year run under Andy Reid as linebackers coach in Philly from 1999-2003. He was recently fired as the head coach of the Commanders following four seasons. Before that, he was the head coach of the Panthers for nine seasons.

While Rivera hasn’t been a defensive coordinator since 2010, he recently expressed a desire to get right back into coaching, even if that meant as a defensive coordinator.

"I have several opportunities right now," Rivera said to 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 took back control of the defense. He said he enjoyed being the defensive play-caller again.

"Sometimes you do have to take a step back," Rivera said to ESPN. "You take a step back you learn and grow from it. It's like I told other players, if you look at this year as a lost year, you're [hurting] yourself. You should look at it as a year to learn and 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 this past season that I think going forward will really help me."

During his NFL career as a head coach, Rivera has a record of 102-103-2 but he was much better in a stable situation in Carolina, going 76-63-1 in charge of the Panthers.

Rivera was on that legendary initial coaching staff under Big Red in 1999 that was full of future head coaches: Rivera, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Pat Shurmur, Steve Spagnuolo, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier and David Culley. He also played under Buddy Ryan in Chicago and coached under Jim Johnson in Philly.

After leaving the Eagles following the 2003 season, Rivera was the DC of the Bears for three seasons and then eventually became the DC of the Chargers for three seasons before getting the head coaching job in Carolina in 2011.

Here’s a look at where his defenses ranked during his last three years as a DC:

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 clearly helped those Chargers teams shore up things on defense.

As a candidate in Philly, the appeal to Rivera is that he’s about as experienced a candidate as there is 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 a more experienced Matt Patricia, which had disastrous results.

Hiring Rivera would definitely offer some stability on the field and in the locker room. An experienced coach like Rivera could basically be the head coach on that side of the football, freeing up Nick Sirianni even more. It’s worth noting that Sirianni was the one who fired Desai, another strong indication he’ll be returning for the 2024 season.

In addition to Rivera, we’ve also heard about two other potential candidates for the DC job. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported that the Eagles recently reached out to Wink Martindale and Ryan Nielsen about the opening. All three of the known potential candidates have DC experience.

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