Saturday, December 2 2023

McDermott served as the Carolina Panthers‘ defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2016. His defense was in the top 10 in yards allowed from 2012 to 2015, and the defense helped the Panthers make a Super Bowl appearance in the 2015 season.

He has also taken over defensive playcalling for short stints in Buffalo. Back in 2018, McDermott called the whole second half off a 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. McDermott also called plays for a series during the team’s epic 42-36 OT loss to the Chiefs in the divisional round of the 2021 playoffs, per former NFL executive Michael Lombardi. It seems McDermott occasionally took over when he felt the team needed a spark.

But this is different. He’s not taking over for a half or a drive. McDermott will take over the unit for the entire year. He is both the head coach and the defensive coordinator for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. 

Two of the Bills’ five most important jobs? (Those five jobs are quarterback, coach, GM, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.)

That’s a lot of pressure for a guy who is coaching in a Super-Bowl-or-bust atmosphere. As McDermott piles on more responsibility and more pressure, he makes himself a better candidate for the Coach of the Year Award. But he also leaves himself more vulnerable for a toasty seat, if the team fails to meet expectations.

Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @henrycmckenna.

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