Rivera heads list of coaching candidates

Ron Rivera heads Eric Allen's list of the top five head coaching candidates next year.

Updated: February 20, 2007, 5:01 PM ET
By Eric Allen | ESPN.com

There have been seven coaching changes this offseason. While these guys didn't get head coaching jobs, any team looking for a new coach next season should have them on its list. Here are my five top coaching candidates:

1. Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator, Bears: He did a great job this season of not only making the Bears a ferocious defense early in the season, but also keeping them above water late in the season when injuries and suspensions started hurting this team. He's leaving Chicago and heading to San Diego as linebackers coach, biding his time until another top opening comes up.

2. Mike Singletary, LBs/assistant head coach, 49ers: There aren't many names that signify class, respect and greatness in football more than Singletary's does. He might not get a job now, but he'll be an NFL head coach within the next two to three years.

3. Rex Ryan, defensive corrdinator, Ravens: He has been in charge of an incredible defense in Baltimore that has the ability to effectively play any defensive scheme. It's fun watching Ryan's defenses play because you never know what look or scheme he's going to show an offense.

4. Dennis Green, former Cardinals head coach: He's another coach who would be perfect in a veteran system because he demands the respect of his players and is able to get more from less. Even though he didn't win, he did a better job than many give him credit for in Arizona.

5. Jim Mora, secondary/assistant head caoch, Seahawks: He had success with the Falcons, but ultimately wasn't able to get them over the hump. He is a young guy who is creative and has the game of football in his blood. He'll get another chance to be a head coach.

Eric Allen

NFL studio analyst
Eric Allen, a 14-year NFL veteran and was one of the NFL's premier defensive backs, joined ESPN in August 2002 as an NFL studio analyst. His primary role is providing analysis for ESPNEWS' Monday Quarterback.

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