(WSCR) Though he’s now the head coach of the Panthers, Ron River is deeply connected to the Bears.
Rivera played for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears and worked as the defensive coordinator when the team’s defense led the Bears back to the Super Bowl in 2006.
As Rivera’s Panthers prepare to take on the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, the head coach knows just how good the 2012 Bears can be.
“This Bears football team may be as good, if not better, and they’re going to be better, I believe that, than what we were in ’06 just because of the players they have,” Rivera told The McNeil and Spiegel Show. “I think what they do offensively is very conducive to the style of play that coach Smith wants. I think that their defense, playing the way they are, with that defensive line setting the tone and the linebackers cleaning it up, and then the defensive backs make a play, they’re a formidable opponent.
LISTEN: Ron Rivera on The McNeil and Spiegel Show
Rivera even said he wants his Panthers to emulate the style of play the Bears employ.
“We lack that fundamental core,” Rivera said. “We’re trying to develop it, we’re trying to put it together. We’re trying to make sure we have the right guys in position that are going to lead. Defensively, I look at the Bears and that’s what I’d love to see us do. I’d love to see Luke Kuechly become that kind of guy like Brian Urlacher. I’d love to see one of our corners come in and be a Charles Tillman. … It’s something that coach Smith talked about wanting to instill that opportunity of taking the football away. It’s a mentality, because when you play to take away the football, you play aggressive to get to the football. It’s one of the things that we’ve worked on here and gotten better as a defense.”