Rivera's Fortunes Change Overnight

There are reports that the St. Louis Rams will name Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as their new head-coach as soon as today. That will leave only two true vacancies left to fill and it doesn't appear Ron Rivera is a top candidate for either opening.

Rivera was one of three finalists for the opening with the Rams. He met the organization for a second interview on Wednesday, but St. Louis decided to go with an offensive specialist. In the end, it came down to Linehan over San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

The Detroit Lions have introduced Rod Marinelli as their new head coach. That means six of the seven coaches hired are first time head coaches. That would seem to give Rivera hope for landing a job, but only the Bills and Raiders have vacancies.

Former Packers head coach Mike Sherman appears to be the frontrunner for the vacancy in Buffalo. Dick Jauron is also a candidate, while Rivera is yet to be interviewed by the Bills.

There's no telling what Al Davis will do in Oakland. He's gone through three head coaches in the past six years.

While the Houston Texans haven't officially named a successor to Dom Capers, the worst kept secret this off-season has been that Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will be named the head coach as soon as the Broncos season is over.

It appears unlikely that Rivera will land his dream job this off-season. There could be some debate about how much of the unit's success goes to Smith and what Rivera is responsible for. The fact that the defense gave up 29 points in their playoff loss to the Panthers didn't help his cause.

Another season with a top ranked defense could add validity to his candidacy. If by chance, he were to be chosen for one of the two remaining vacancies, the Bears would have to go to Plan B for his replacement.

Marinelli would have been Lovie Smith's the top choice if he had to find a new defensive coordinator. With his hiring in Detroit, three of the four teams in the NFC North will now run the Cover 2 as their base defense.

The Packers have yet to choose a defensive coordinator after hiring Mike McCarthy as their head coach last week. Jim Bates decided to leave the post, which leaves Green Bay in search of their fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons.

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