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Rivera from all angles

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Here's a very good article from a Chicago paper on Ron Rivera and the Cowboys. The writer does a good job of laying out different possibilities and reasons why things could go in any direction.

[Ron] Rivera left no doubt he wants to be the ninth head-coaching candidate Cowboys owner Jerry Jones interviews and even named Jones first when listing the biggest selling points of the job.

Is Rivera really on our list of head coaching candidates, or is this all about getting him as a defensive coordinator for Norv Turner? The conventional wisdom says it's the latter, but what happens if the Bears win the Super Bowl, and the defense plays a huge role - which it obviously would have to for the Bears to win. Does the post-Super Bowl euphoria make Jones see Rivera in a whole new light? Would a dominating defensive performance vault Rivera up to serious consideration for the head coaching spot? I don't know, I guess we'll have to see how the game turns out, but maybe it has an impact on Jerry's thinking.

But whether Rivera would consider a lateral but more lucrative move to become Dallas' defensive coordinator after his contract runs out Sunday remains unclear. That idea came up last week during Norv Turner's interview, when Turner mentioned Rivera as an alternative at defensive coordinator after the Cowboys suggested secondary coach Todd Bowles.

"I'm not sure what opportunity they have in mind, but once it comes to that time, hopefully it's an opportunity to my liking," Rivera said.

A lot has been made about Norv Turner saying that he wants Rivera. The article talks about how Turner knows Rivera through his brother Ron - the Bears offensive coordinator - and that Rivera wanted to hire Norv last year if he had got the Packers job.

There's also the issue that no one knows the answer to, yet. Will Jerry insist we stay a 3-4 team, and how does he feel about someone more dedicated to the 4-3 trying to run the 3-4? Mike Zimmer could never get comfortable with it.

As that new coordinator, Rivera could be charged either with installing his Cover-2 defense on a roster built for the 3-4 scheme or adapting his own style to fit the personnel.

That's the question, and we know Jerry will have his say on that point.

Now, it gets interesting when thinking about Rivera and his future career prospects. On the side for staying with the Bears, instead of making a lateral move, is the risk of coming to Dallas with a new head coach, new coordinators, and working with a new defense vs. staying with what you know - and what has been successful - with the Bears. There are also his long history with the Chicago franchise, and the uncertain future of Lovie Smith past next year. Rivera could parlay a good run with the Bears again next year into the possible head coaching job if Smith doesn't get a contract extension worked out.

But there's the other side of that coin that may favor Dallas. And when I say coin, I mean coin.

Of course, money talks. Jones could at least triple Rivera's estimated salary of $500,000 if Turner wants him to run the Cowboys defense badly enough. Given NFL inflation for the salaries of elite assistant coaches, no defensive coordinator coming off a Super Bowl appearance likely would settle for anything less than $1.5 million.

"Maybe [Dallas] would give me some leverage [with the Bears]," Rivera said with a chuckle.

The lure of more money and the chance to escape the shadow of "Lovie Smith's Cover-2," a label that doesn't give Rivera the credit he deserves for his bold accents to the design, would be hard to resist.

If you want to cash in, there's no better time than right after a Super Bowl appearance, especially if you win. The writer also notes that the allure of a Cowboys coaching gig can be a powerful thing - but I think that's nullified a bit by Rivera's long ties to the Chicago franchise. But coaching in Dallas is certainly high-profile, so he could easily bolster his reputation as a head coaching candidate by fixing a Dallas defense as its coordinator and help to make the team a force in the playoffs.