The Buffalo Bills announced that former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will be the franchise’s 20th ever head coach.
The choice of going with a defensive head coach to replace recently fired Rex Ryan makes sense, as the team needs to tighten up on that side of the ball.
McDermott is the second new head coaching hire today to get his first shot at being a head coach on the NFL level.
“I knew I wanted to coach at an early age,” McDermott told CBSSports.com. “I just love being around the game. That’s kind of how I was as a player, and I ended up coaching the spring of my fifth year when [William & Mary] coach [Jimmy] Laycock approached me and asked if I wanted to give it a try. And I’m grateful for it — that was my start.”
After spending a year as a graduate assistant at his alma mater William and Mary, the 42-year old joined the Philadelphia Eagles as a scouting coordinator. He would spend 12 seasons under Andy Reid in Philly before moving on to Carolina, where he joined head coach Ron Rivera as his defensive coordinator. McDermott spent six seasons as the Panthers DC, one of the longest-tenured coordinators in the NFL.
McDermott has always run a 4-3 scheme, which is what the Bills ran prior to Rex Ryan’s arrival when the defense was successful. He has been tabbed to get the most out of players such as Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander and Stephon Gilmore.
Buffalo has many questions to answer on the offensive side of the ball as well, as quarterback Tyrod Taylor is expected to become a free agent, leaving just Cardale Jones under contract. The team was solid at running the football last season, but to compete in the AFC East they’re going to have to find a suitable passing attack which would mean that they would have to utilize former first-round pick Sammy Watkins.
Like any first-time head coach, one of the things that will determine McDermott’s success will be the staff he puts around himself, and he’s reportedly trying to get former San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy to be his offensive coordinator.
Just as we give John Elway the benefit of the doubt with his success, we have to question Doug Whaley in Buffalo for his lack of success. McDermott seems like he’s paid his dues and is an ascending young coach, but the only thing that matters will be wins and losses.