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Report: Rivera to be Panthers' next coach

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By PFW staff

Multiple sources are reporting that Ron Rivera will be the next head coach of the Panthers.

The Chargers defensive coordinator was in North Carolina to meet with team officials for a second time and apparently has won over owner Jerry Richardson. Rivera will replace John Fox, the Panthers' coach from 2002-10 who was not given a new contract after his deal expired at season's end.

Rivera, who turned 49 last Friday, played linebacker for the Bears from 1984-92 and he was the D-coordinator in Chicago before his contract was not renewed after the ’06 season. He served as San Diego's linebackers coach before being promoted to lead the San Diego "D" in 2008. He replaced Ted Cottrell, who was fired.

The Chargers finished first in the NFL in yards allowed per game this season.

Rivera would become the fourth consecutive former defensive coordinator hired to be the Panthers' head coach, joining a list that includes Dom Capers, George Seifert and Fox.

The way we see it

While he now has had success as a defensive coordinator in two separate stops, one of Rivera's top priorities, if he's hired, will be repairing an offense that ranked dead last in the league and scored only 12.2 points per game. Richardson made it very clear during a press conference last week that he was unhappy with the conservative style of offense under Fox and wants to see a different approach on that side of the ball.

Rivera will need a strong offensive coordinator to come in and assist him, and they, along with GM Marty Hurney, need to decide whether or not rookie QB Jimmy Clausen, who threw three touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 10 starts (producing a 1-9 record in those starts), is the man to lead the offense in 2011.

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