I've remarked here many times that Ron Rivera really didn't do the assistant head coach title here in Carolina, and he admitted today that he should've had an experienced head coach on staff. An assistant head coach, experienced or not, would've helped in that regard; both OC Rob Chudzinski and DBs coach (and "Passing game coordinator") Steve Wilks were assistant head coaches in the past. Rivera has made numerous moves that, at first glance, don't cost Carolina, but in the long run have helped rob some wins from a team that could've been a contender. He covered that at his press conference, suggesting that the schemes and Xs and Os were top notch (agreed) but that game management lacked (agreed on that as well). Rivera had the ability to hire an assistant head coach, reportedly having some association with his former head coach, Dave Wannstedt - who was AHC/LBs with Buffalo in 2011, before becoming coordinator there. He also would've been able to get Mike Singletary if interested, but the draw on that one would've been more unsettled (since Singletary acts somewhat insane). Finding a position coach with head coach experience isn't that easy (Tom Cable would've been another option, I guess), and in my opinion, there's not much room for a coordinator with that additional role. Notably, Darin Gantt chimed in on twitter, specifically pushing the idea that Chudzinski was Rivera's choice and that the team had other choices at OC; that's all well and good, but coordinators don't have to be the guys to advise a head coach; John Fox used his RBs coach, Jim Skipper. You want someone detached from the minutae of instructing half the team at all times, in my opinion. The hire of Chudzinski was ideal; the coaches being pushed by the media as Hurney's supposed choices (Tom Clements, unlikely to leave as GB's QBs coach and now their OC; Jay Gruden, who's doing a great job as Bengals OC but who had minimal experience in any high enough league as a head coach; Marc Trestman, a head coach in the CFL) weren't necessarily guys who had success in college or NFL as a head coach. None of them push the system that Rivera's familiar with; he doesn't know them. Again, in this case, an association with a coach who has some background with the new HC is a good thing. I do applaud Rivera's candid statements, as always. I wish those situations were improved; I wish Rivera was a better game manager. I see a team that, in a way, is held back by just that issue.
Would a stipulation of Rivera's continued employment next year be found in an Assistant Head Coach who's been around the block? If so, who?
*Wannstedt might come available again (Chan Gailey and Wannstedt have the Bills at 5-9 in year 3). LBs coach Warren Belin is doing a good job, but could easily slide back to college;
*Pat Shurmur (current coach of the Browns) coached TEs, then QBs with the Eagles, though he's probably as likely to slide back in with Andy Reid;
*Mike Munchak in Tennessee probably doesn't have much time left; he'd be a solid line coach/assistant head coach
*Norv Turner's probably not going to get another head coaching job; the unlikeliness of him coming here is evident in that he wouldn't be less than a coordinator and hasn't worked on the East Coast in years.
There's also a chance that Rivera promotes someone from within to the title. Or that he's not here to have it happen.