Buffalo Bills: Updated 2017 Head Coach Candidates

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Nov 2, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott stands on the field prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina defeated Indianapolis 29-26 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott

McDermott interviewed with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, January 3rd.

While we assume the Bills already have done homework on Anthony Lynn, McDermott may have been the first interview in the process.

What We Know

We know that Sean McDermott is a protégé of long-time Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. He was let go of DC of the Eagles when Andy Reid’s staff was fired. Lately he has been in Carolina under Ron Rivera and leading a defense that has ranked in the top 10 of total defense in 4 of the past 5 years.

His defense is a 4-3 which fits the rumors of the Bills desire to go back to a 4-3 defensive system, but what makes his style exciting is a heavy amount of disguises and blitzing. The logical assumption would be that he would pluck assistants from Kansas City, Philadelphia and Carolina.



McDermott’s defense take a lot of risks and appear to be fun to watch. While his defense this past year dipped following the loss of key players, they still lead the NFC in turnovers.

Would he want an aggressive offense to match his style on defense? We don’t know, but we do know that over the course of time his defenses have held up.

AND it’s not a defense multiple teams are running.

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He has no head coaching experience and could be benefiting from working for a defensive-minded head coach in Ron Rivera. McDermott does call the defensive plays, but how much input is he receiving from Rivera — not only during the season, but in training camp?

We don’t know and we don’t know who he is connected to on offense. Each interviewee should be providing a list of possible assistants they will bring with them.

I doubt he is bringing in Chip Kelly, but he is just as likely as anybody else because we really don’t know.

Best Fit for Him

Since we don’t know what his offense could look like, Jacksonville may be the best fit for his scheme.

Defensively they already run a 4-3, have top tier NFL LBs in Paul Poszluzny and Telvin Smith, and an in-house offense with weapons that would attract top offensive coordinators.

My Take

Great hire in my opinion. This is a copy cat league and the Buffalo Bills always seem to copy way too late. This defense is run in Carolina only and it’s really good.

Seattle’s defense is run by 3 teams and Baltimore’s is run by half the league. That means on defense, more teams are looking for the same players in the draft and free agency. By being more original you have more opportunities to get the best of what you want.

We don’t have Luke Kuechly, but we do have the makings of a dominant defensive line and potential in Reggie Ragland.  McDermott has been a solid coordinator for a longtime, but he had distinct growing pains early. Thus, patience would be needed with him.

While I think the payoffs would be worth it, I question if the front office will wait.

On to the next one.