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The San Diego Chargers defense has been a hot topic as of late, but fans saw warning signs from the start of the preseason. After a poor showing through the first half of the season, the Chargers decided to go in another direction and fired Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell, replacing him with Ron Rivera. A popular move among fans, there is a renewed excitement and hope that Rivera can help turn the season around.
Coach Rivera has been at the helm for a few weeks now as the team's Defensive Coordinator. His first outing was a successful one, in spite of a few shaky (but forgivable) moments. Rivera showed an ability to make adjustments at half time and his team held the Kansas City Chiefs to only 6 points in the second half.
I had the chance to take a bit of Coach Rivera's time and tried to uncover what his philosophy will be as he runs the defense for the rest of the season (and beyond?)
There were some different personnel packages at times against Kansas City. In particular I noticed Paul Oliver was in on a couple of running downs. Are we going to see more of this, in terms of using certain guys in certain situations?
“Absolutely. We’re going to put players in positions to make plays.”
The Chargers don't often start rookie defenders, opting instead to bring them on slowly. What's keeping highly touted guys like Siler and Waters and Oliver from seeing more of the field? Is it a mental thing? Or are the guys in front of them simply better at this point?
“I think we’ve got some very solid veteran football players and it’s hard to displace them right now, especially in guys like Coop and Timmy Dobbins.”
Nine games into the season, teams have been writing a book on how to attack the Chargers defense. Is your philisophy to stay the course and improve execution, or do the Chargers need to present more looks?
“I think a combination of both. We need to continue to work on what we do best and at the same time present more challenges by adding some more to what we do.”
In terms of improving the pass rush, how does that happen without adding players to the roster? Do you have everything you need right now to generate those negative plays? What about blitzing defensive backs?
“Absolutely, and we did.”
Will Ron Rivera be in San Diego next season?
“Absolutely and I’m looking forward to it. I like my situation with the current circumstances. The question is, hopefully the club will have me.”
Special thanks go out to Bill and his awesome PR staff for working with me, Coach Rivera for taking the time, and the San Diego Chargers for running a first-class organization!
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