The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday they have hired former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as their new head coach.
Bills president and CEO Kim Pegula shared a photo with McDermott after announcing the news:
Bills owner Terry Pegula released the following statement regarding the hiring:
We believe we have hired a smart, determined and hard-working head coach who has been training for many years to achieve this goal. Sean is an ambitious leader who has the desire to lead this organization to compete for and ultimately win a Super Bowl. We look forward to working with Sean for many years to come.
"This is our type of town," McDermott said at his press conference Friday, per Matthew Fairburn of Syracuse.com. "We look forward to making this our home."
“I’ve done my research," McDermott continued, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. "In my opinion this was the best job on the market."
"I'm not into making promises," McDermott added, per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. "The promise I'll make is that we'll be competitive."
The coach also told reporters it was premature to discuss the status of quarterback Tyrod Taylor but noted his evaluation would be thorough and diligent.
The 42-year-old McDermott served as Carolina's defensive coordinator from 2011 through 2016 after two seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator.
McDermott became assistant to the head coach with the Eagles in 1999 under Andy Reid and served in myriad roles with the organization until his firing following the 2010 season.
Buffalo fired head coach Rex Ryan following a Week 16 defeat against the Miami Dolphins and placed the interim tag on offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported that Lynn was a "virtual lock" to become Buffalo's next head coach, but McDermott apparently impressed enough in his interview to secure the job.
In 2015, McDermott led a Panthers defense that ranked sixth in the NFL in both points against and yards allowed en route to representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Panthers defense also ranked first in interceptions and sixth in sacks in 2015, but the 2016 campaign was a struggle after the unit lost some key talent in free agency and to injury.
Carolina dropped to 26th in points allowed and 21st in total yardage allowed in 2016, although it managed to finish second in the league in sacks with 47, which Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk credited to McDermott:
McDermott was put in a difficult situation this past season, as superstar linebacker Luke Kuechly missed six games because of a concussion and All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman left via free agency during the offseason.
That left McDermott with little to speak of at corner, but Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer praised him for getting the most out of his players:
McDermott is a well-respected coach who is closing in on two decades in the NFL, and it seemed as though he was due for a head coaching chance after getting passed over many times previously.
Coaches from the Reid coaching tree have had mixed results over the years, although Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh won a Super Bowl and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera led Carolina to one.
McDermott's resume is impressive, and his experience of winning games and making deep playoff runs makes him an ideal first-time head coach.
Although McDermott has never been the head man at any stop during his lengthy coaching career, he is well-prepared to hit the ground running in his new role.
Buffalo's defense is supremely talented, but it ranked in the middle of the pack in both points and yards allowed in 2016, as Ryan's defensive expertise never seemed to translate to production on the field.
McDermott has work ahead of him to fix issues on that side of the ball, and he is also tasked with ending the longest playoff drought in major American professional sports at 17 seasons.
That is a significant burden to shoulder, but based on the success he has enjoyed at his previous stops, McDermott appears to be the right man for the job.
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