First head coaching candidate emerges for Carolina Panthers.

Although General Manager Marty Hurney has said there is no timetable for a coaching hiring, or that they have any interviews planned a conflicting report from Pro Football Talk says per a league source the Carolina Panthers will be interviewing San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.

Don't think for a second that interviewing Rivera is little more than a casual gesture to satisfy the Rooney rule, as that would be giving far too little credit to the man who has established San Diego's stifing 3-4 scheme, while using a group of players that aren't littered with household names.

More on Rivera's pedigree... after the jump

Rivera cut his teeth as a defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears where from 2004-2006 he inherited a 14th ranked defense and over his tenure in the Windy City gave the Bears the 2nd and 5th ranked defenses respectively following just his first year. 

Despite putting together a stellar defense the Bears decided not to retain Rivera after firing the entire coaching staff following the 2006 season. For one season Rivera was inside linebacker coach before being promoted to DC in 2008.

As defensive coordinator Rivera inherited the 14th ranked defense and after pedestrian 2008 and 2009 seasons marred by injuries improved the Chargers to 1st in the NFL in defense in 2010 allowing only 267.2 yards per game.

While it remains to be seen how this process goes the interviewing of Ron Rivera both brings a very strong candidate to Charlotte, and satisfies the NFL's Rooney Rule on interviewing minorities as Rivera is of Puerto Rican/Mexican descent. 

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