Sean McDermott has agreed to become the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 11, 2017
It’s somewhat of a surprise to see the now former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator take over the head-coaching duties for the Bills. After all, it seemed highly probable that the Bills would prioritize continuity and promote interim head coach Anthony Lynn. All indications pointed to Lynn, who came to Buffalo with Rex Ryan, being the front-runner for the job.
However, over the past few days, McDermott emerged as the favorite to land Buffalo’s head-coaching gig.
Change is often a good thing, and after yet another season has come and passed without postseason football, it’s hard to imagine Bills fans not being receptive to a new face with different philosophies and ideas.
Bills owner Terry Pegula hinted at this possibility in a phone interview with John Wawrow of the Associated Press regarding his decision to fire Ryan. In the interview, Pegula essentially absolved the Bills offense of any real blame, instead deflecting the brunt of last season’s failure on the defense, and by default, Ryan.
"Maybe [Tyrod Taylor] can win more games than that, I don't know," Pegula, told Wawrow. "But when the other side of the ball's not performing, it's hard to outscore people."
Enter McDermott, 42, who spent the last six seasons as the defensive coordinator in Carolina and two additional years prior to that in the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles. McDermott’s Panthers unit did not play well this season (ranked 21st overall), but were among the NFL’s best in 2015 (ranked 6th overall and 1st in takeaways) culminating in Carolina facing off against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
The veteran defensive-minded coach employs 4-3 scheme, which should please most of the Bills defenders after having to dealing with Ryan’s 3-4 schemes for the last couple of years. Marcell Dareus should be particularly enthusiastic with the hiring of McDermott, as he vocalized his complaints about Ryan’s system, saying it was “too detailed.” Hopefully, this change can see the star defensive lineman return to his 2014 Pro Bowl form.
It remains to be seen who McDermott will get to fill out his coaching staff, but right now, it’s being reported that McDermott would like to hire former San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy to be his offensive coordinator.