Bills Today: McDermott earned his stripes

Bills Today: McDermott earned his stripes


Anthony Sambrotto Contributing Correspondent

Buffalo named its 20th head coach Wednesday, and by all accounts it’s a position he rightfully earned after spending 18 years in the NFL.

Although nobody knows for sure what Sean McDermott will bring to the Bills, the 20th head coach in franchise history is receiving plenty of praise from those who have seen him work.

One of his most glowing reviewers was Carolina Panthers beat reporter Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer, a guest on the John Murphy Show Wednesday.

Person started covering the Carolina Panthers the year before McDermott was hired as defensive coordinator, and said that he has seen the 42-year-old develop in his six seasons in charge of Carolina’s defense—especially in regards to his relationship with players.

“I can tell you that Sean knows when to pat guys on the back, but when they need some tough love,” Person said. “He’s not just going to say anything that he thinks players want to hear. I’ve seen him get into it with players, but I’ve seen him get with guys individually after wins and losses and have a heart to heart type of talk.”

The Panthers defense struggled in 2016, starting two rookies at cornerback and playing without Luke Kuechly for six games, but otherwise McDermott has enjoyed immense success in Carolina. The Panther defense ranked in the top 10 in total yards allowed in four of those six seasons, and only gave up 15.1 points per game in 2013. Carolina’a ability to get to the quarterback and force turnovers was also a key reason why the team went 15-1 last season en route to the Super Bowl.

McDermott, who operates a 4-3 defense, comes from an impressive coaching tree. He has coached under Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera. Due to that experience, Person feels that McDermott will hire a defensive coordinator that he trusts enough to call the plays and that also agrees with his defensive philosophy.