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Getting to know Ron Rivera

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Ronald Eugene Rivera was born in Fort Ord, California, the son of a Puerto Rican officer in the US Army. He played colligate football for the Golden Bears of UC Berkley, where he set the sack record and in 1983 he set the school record for tackles for losses, a records that stands to this day. In 2003 Ron was inducted into the Division 1-A College Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the California Sports Hall of Fame.

    In 1984 he became the first person of Puerto Rican decent to play in the NFL when he was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears. Ron was a line backer for the great 85 Bears team, the one that is considered to be the best team in the history of the bears. That season saw the Bears be one of the most dominating defenses of all times, on their way to a Superbowl win over the patriots. Ron played for the Bears a total of nine seasons from 1984 to 1992.

    1996 saw Ron return to the Bears, this time as the Defensive Quality Control Coach. He began his coaching career in the NFL with the same team he played with. In 1999 Ron moved to Philadelphia where he was named the Linebackers Coach. Ron was well respected for his coaching skills during this tenure and is noted for developing linebacker Jeremiah Trotter into a two-time Pro Bowl performer.

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    In 2004 Ron returned to the Bears as Defensive Coordinator. In 2005, his defensive unit was statistically rated as the second best unit in the league. After the 2005 season, teams began considering Ron for vacant Head Coaching Positions. In 2006 Ron’s defensive unit still produces well, especially in the category of points allowed. Ron remained in the position until 2007 when he was informed by the Chicago Bears that his contract would not be renewed.

    [​IMG]

    At that time Ron interviewed for several Head Coaching positions, including San Diego and Dallas. He eventually joined San Diego, but as the Linebackers coach, not the Head Coach. Ron remained in that position until mid way through the 2008 season when the Chargers Front Office answered the prayers of all Chargers fans when they fired the incumbent Defensive Coordinator and replaced him with Ron who was the fan favorite.

    Ron was more than the fan favorite. He was a true players coach and had the respect of more than just the Linebackers. Louis Castillo said of Ron’s hiring, "I think we all kind of looked at it as we were incredibly lucky to be getting that type of talent at a position coach, we saw it as an opportunity to learn from a guy that had more to offer than just a linebacker coach. When he first got here, there were some guys who went to him and said, 'Hey, what can we do better as a D-line? What did you guys do in Chicago?'. . . . When you have a guy like him, you do it and trust what he says. "

    Ron is reported to say a lot, both on the practice field and in the video room. "The guys will tell you I'm a little bit of a nitpicker," he reports. "I try to make a comment on everything, every play, every practice snap. I always try to give feedback. I'm meticulous about it. "

    Ron gained much needed experience with the 3-4 defense in 2007 and 2008. The Chargers have said they will continue to run the 3-4 defense, even though the majority of Ron’s time has been with the 4-3 defense. Ron had these comments, "I took some of the things I've done in the past and tried to incorporate it so it fit a 3-4 defense," Ron said. "I didn't want to change the integrity of the defense. It's not something they haven't done. But it's a refinement of what they've done."

    Ron and his retooled staff have spent a majority of the offseason tweaking the defensive schemes, adjusting their approach to the game, and to the mentality that their players will play with. They looked at what has worked, what has not worked. Ron said in May that he and his staff rewrote the playbook. According to Linebacker Shaun Phillips, the plays are largely the same; it is the approach that is better.

    Ron and his position coaches have been focusing philosophy and feeding the retooled playbook to players in meetings during conditioning sessions and at the camps in May. For the Chargers defense the offseason could not be more important. They have to get on the same page as well as rediscover their ‘swagger’. In the opinion of this fan, they have to get their ‘MEAN’ on and dominate the way we know the defense can.

    The defensive staff which includes the lone holdover, linebackers coach John Pagano, and new secondary coaches Steve Wilks and Cris Dishman, assistant linebackers coach Greg Williams and defensive line coach Don Johnson all watched every play from 2008. Their mission was to decipher the good and bad and make sure going forward that they clearly defined their vision. They spent time getting on the same page so they could get all of their players on the same page. One of the main problems in the 2008 season was that the players were not on the same page. They played out of position, without confidence in each other, or trust that the person next to them would do their job. The coaching staff seemed to realize that this problem would have to be rectified from the top down. They took the time to do that.

    The playbook that resulted from this ‘come to Rivera’ meeting is bigger, but much of the extra bulk is designed to make sure players are aware of all contingencies in certain packages. They are making sure that they can rely on the person next to them and play with discipline and trust.

    We put a few more pages per defense,” Ron said. “We didn't just say they should know. We went ahead and drew those problem things. We didn't say they should know it. We put it in so they do know it. ... We want to be a smarter defense. These are the things that can happen.” Ron and staff have worked to ensure that they are removing the guess work from the process, I don’t know about you, but this news excited this fan. A defense that knows what can happen, and is on the same page can play with instinct and ferocity that a defense that has to over think things cannot.

    Ron's new approach already had began to bear fruit at end of last season. The Chargers ranked last in the league in pass defense through eight games under Cottrell, allowing 275 yards a game. Over the season's final eight games, they ranked 11th (236 yards a game). Overall, they allowed the sixth-most scrimmage yards (381.8) and 10th-most points (24.9) per game under Cottrell. Under Ron, they were 13th in the league in scrimmage yards (334.6) and allowed the eighth-fewest points (18.5).

    Players seem to approve and are speaking highly of Ron’s knowledge, approach to play calling and style of coaching last season. At the recent minicamp, many noted a more aggressive approach the defensive unit had, and how the Defensive Line Coach Johnson was having his players practice in a more aggressive manner. Johnson coached with Ron in Chicago.
    We feel really good about the group we have leading us,” Castillo said. “We like the continuity on our defense. We like (Ron's) style of coaching.

    All in all, I think if we believe half of what we hear, and see half of what is promised we will be very happy with the defense. With players like Jamal Williams, Shawne Merriman, and all the other high octane performers, an improvement in the aggressiveness and cohesiveness of this defensive unit should be something that the opposing Quarterbacks should fear.

    Ron, if you can accomplish all of this, then you have my support and the support of all Charger fans out there. That is my opinion, what is yours?
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I believe that these guys are gonna play their hearts out for RR. :tup:
     
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  3. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I have heard players talk about a 3 OLB package, to get Merriman, English and Phillips on the field at once. Can you imagine?

    Now Shamrock tells me that he heard on Serious that Castillo actually said the Bolts have a 4 OLB package (Merriman, Phillips, English and Tucker)...

    Can you imagine being an offensive lineman and looking at that? With Catillo and Williams to boot? Who do you block?!

    WOOOOT! I AM READY!!!!
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I don't think that RR is going to have too much restraint with regards to mix and matching his LBers at any given time. I could see the 4 OLB package or 4-3 looks where Merriman, English, or Phillips puts a hand down & we have Cooper or Dobbins in the middle.

    We have more versatility among the LB group than anywhere else on the defense. Hopefully Burnett will help with the weakest area, TE coverage.
     
  5. guerro619

    guerro619 Well-Known Member

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    Very good article. Not that much is said about Rivera. This gets me fired up for the D. And can't wait to see it put on the field of play. :cheers:
     
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  6. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Thanks for the feedback, and welcome to the forum! :tup:
     
  7. Charger Dave

    Charger Dave Dead account

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    Good stuff Conc - here is an excerpt from an old "Bleachers Report":

     
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  8. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    Big Rivera Fan here.
     
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  9. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Great write-up C, :icon_toast::icon_toast:


    Injuries would be the only thing standing in our way this year.

    Our D is gonna light some shiit up!!!


    :abq2::abq2::abq2::abq2:
     
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  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I want an intimidating, take a shot at you type defense. One that has to be feared and respected. There is nothing wrong with taking a flag to stop a score, just don't get beat.
     
  11. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Guys, I am getting pumped. I have a feeling our D is going to be something very special!
     
  12. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

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    I fully agree:tup: I am so pumped I can't wait for the season to start.:bolt::abq2:
     
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  13. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    It looks to me as if this season lay's on out D's shoulders. We will go as far as they can take us. Please dudes, don't stop one game short.
     
  14. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    You're right, HB. I think our O can put up points week in & week out - but they have to be able to get on the field.
     
  15. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    That's the ticket BM, it would also be nice to get that defensive score here and there to put games away. :icon_toast:
     
  16. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Agree with you Conc. This D has the talent, coaching and attitude to get us there in Feb 2010. Health is going to be SO important on both sides though. But yeah, if we get a top ranked D and the offense can produce and stay healthy as expected, I like our chances at getting that big Football trophy.....:yes:
     
  17. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    He watched the 2007 Super bowl when the giants threw Ueminyora (or however you spell his name), Strahan, Kiwanuka and Tuck against the Pats OL all at once. It was devastating against their OL. He wants to do the same thing - though I don't think they're going to put six guys on the line at once like your thinking.

    At the very least your getting creativity, your getting fire, your getting blitzing and your getting a good set system with a guy who knows his craft. That speaks highly of what's to come.
     
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  18. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    Rivera is probably the single biggest reason I see Lombardi in Feb 2010. Sadly, it also means he will get a head Coaching Gig....hopefully Pagano is waiting in the wings learning from RR.

    This D honestly has a chance to be every bit as dominating at the 85 Bears. As long as we stay healthy watching RR put the pieces together will be one of the most gratifying things to watch in our Lombardi run.

    On a related note, I just hope Johnson develops Vaughn Martin into the player he can become. Replacing Jamal will be a tall order, but I believe he has the tools to do it. Its up to RR and Johnson (and Vaughn of course) to develop those tools.
     
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  19. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Just stay healthy! :tup:
     
  20. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Now there's an idea!!!! :tup:
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I agree, and echo the confidence in Rivera! Is it game time yet?!
     
  22. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I have very high hopes for Vicious. I think he wants to succeed in the NFL. With his physical tools, that's already half of the battle.
     

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