Even though he has an extensive defensive background, if Sean McDermott is the next Buffalo Bills head coach, he’ll need to hire a defensive coordinator.
That guy could be John Butler, the current secondary coach for the Texans. According to an article by Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle, Butler has “long-standing connections” to McDermott, as the two played football together at LaSalle College High School in Philadelphia.
Here’s what Wilson wrote about Butler’s reputation across the league:
“Butler has drawn praise for his work with the Texans’ second-ranked pass defense, coaching safety Quintin Demps, who has six interceptions to lead all NFL safeties, along with cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson and an injured Kevin Johnson.”
Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien was quoted in Wilson’s article, too.
"John Butler is an excellent coach. John Butler, in my opinion, is destined for great things in this profession. I think he'll be a coordinator someday. I think he'll be a head football coach somewhere someday. Did a great job for us at Penn State and he's done an excellent job for us here as guys really rely on him. He's a very energetic guy.”
Butler was with O’Brien at Penn State in 2012 and 2013, first serving as a secondary coach before taking over as defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions.
As was Houston’s defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
“I think several guys on the defensive staff have the ability to be coordinators, and I think John is definitely one who can be a coordinator, has been a coordinator. He's a very hard worker, he's detailed. I think it's hard to outwork him. He's got a good football mind, makes adjustments on the sideline."
There have no reports of a potential McDermott-Butler tandem in Buffalo, but the two are definitely familiar with each other, and Butler is apparently a highly respected assistant. He interviewed for the 49ers defensive coordinator position in 2016.
Remember though, with McDermott’s defensive background, he’ll almost assuredly install his defense in Buffalo if he’s named the next Bills’ head coach.
Other potential defensive coordinators
Steve Wilks - current Panthers assistant head coach / secondary coach.
Eric Washington - current Panthers defensive line coach. Has held that role since 2011.
Curtis Fuller - current Panthers assistant defensive backs coach. He’s had that job since 2014.