Morning Ram-blings: A Bears reunion

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera go back a long way.

On Sunday in Charlotte, that duo will be adversaries on opposite sidelines but there was a time when they learned the NFL ropes as players together on the Chicago Bears.

Fisher and Rivera were teammates in Chicago for two years, cutting their teeth under defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Both coaches still employ principles of Ryan's defense in their schemes. Even though they haven't been particularly close over the years, the respect they have for one another is evident.

“Ron’s been successful wherever he’s been," Fisher said. "He moved around a little bit, did a great job with his defenses down in San Diego and [was] a great teammate. He’s one of those guys that loves the game and is dedicated to it and communicates very well. He’s got a good football team down there.”

Rivera didn't hesitate to return those sentiments.

“Jeff was always one of those guys that was a very bright, smart football player that you knew, eventually, when he got his opportunities, he was going to be a coach,” Rivera said.

Both coaches spent their share of time moving around and up the football ladder, making it hard to stay in contact.

“He moved around a lot as a coach, and then once I started coaching, I started moving around a lot," Rivera said. "But, we crossed paths several times. Jeff’s one of those guys you don’t forget. He was a really good teammate, he really was.”

Coincidentally, Fisher is now the Rams head coach, a job that Rivera nearly landed in 2006. At the time, the Rams were looking to replace Mike Martz and Rivera emerged as the best defensive-minded candidate. Ultimately, the job went to Scott Linehan and Rivera had to wait longer than many anticipated to get his chance to be a head coach.

In watching the Rams all year and then catching a couple Panthers game on "NFL Game Rewind," there are a lot of things about each team that look similar in terms of mentality and approach, if not scheme. Given the head coaches' histories, that should be no surprise.


Our daily roundup of Rams' stories appearing here on ESPN.com. ... We kicked off the morning with the weekly QB Watch feature and a look at Sam Bradford. ... Next up was a quick summary of Fisher's appearance on Mike and Mike. ... From there, it was the weekly buzz focusing on hot topics in St. Louis this week. ... In the daily injury update, we discuss the absence of end Chris Long and running back Zac Stacy from practice and the return of offensive tackle Rodger Saffold. ... Finally, we took an in depth look at the Rams' struggles stopping the run and their increased efforts to find answers in that area.


At stltoday.com, beat writer Jim Thomas takes a look at rookie linebacker Daren Bates and his dogged pursuit on special teams.

At 101sports.com, Tony Softli writes that the Rams' win in Houston was a total team effort.

Also at 101sports, former Rams receiver Torry Holt discusses the Rams' new look offense and other Rams topics.

At stlouisrams.com, Jonathan Webb writes about the Rams' red zone success so far this season.