Bombastic. Brash. Loud. Loose. All of these adjectives have been used to describe Rex Ryan. If the Buffalo Bills were looking to instantly change the culture around the building after his dismissal, early reports indicate that they have brought someone in who will do just that.
Sean McDermott has been described as detail-oriented, reserved, and intense, leading to some dubbing him the “anti-Rex Ryan.” Ian Rapoport provided a brief snippet discussing the McDermott hiring yesterday, calling his hiring “a bit of a surprise,” considering the belief that many in the media held regarding Anthony Lynn’s inside shot at the job.
Kaleel Weatherly wrote a fantastic summary of McDermott’s style and strengths for our parent site, and I suggest you give it a read. The major takeaways from the article centered on flexibility of scheme, or the fact that McDermott builds a scheme to fit his players while Ryan tried to force square pegs into round holes for the better part of the last two years. It was interesting to see McDermott described as a “players’ coach,” because the traditional meaning of that moniker does not mesh well with phrases like “intense” and “detail-oriented.” However, this oft-used pejorative really can have a far greater positive meaning.
"In order to build chemistry you've got to really know one another,” McDermott said. "I want guys to spend time with one another, really get to know one another and care for one another.” This is the true meaning of a players’ coach—he wants his players to care so deeply about each other that they do not want to let each other down on any given play. He has done a tremendous job motivating players and selling his message as a defensive coordinator, and these traits should translate well into leading an entire football team in the future.
Eric Wood tweeted yesterday that he had received two texts about McDermott right after the hiring was announced, and both were positive. The defensive players will be happy to hear that he believes that players must “be able to execute and play fast, and be fundamentally sound.” He notes that football is “like a game of chess,” but that it’s important to mask his players’ weaknesses “rather than tying them up with intricate schemes and things.”
Only time will tell if the McDermott hiring is the one that leads the Bills out of the NFL wilderness, but one thing is certain: if some players were looking for a culture shift, ownership and the front office agreed, and they have delivered the first step towards achieving that shift.