McDermott ready to be head coach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott doesn't hesitate to say his goal is to be a head coach in the NFL.

After a "Black Monday'' in which Cleveland, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Washington and Minnesota fired their head coaches -- along with the Texans who made a switch after a 2-11 start -- there are plenty of openings.

But so far, the architect of the NFL's second-ranked defense says he hasn't received a call.

That doesn't mean McDermott won't get one before the end of the week as coaches on playoff teams with a bye are free to entertain inquiries. He should get one based on what the defense has done this season.

"That's all part of the process,'' McDermott said on Monday. "Listen, we've had a great year as a team, but right now my focus isn't there. My focus is on helping this football team win games. I'm focused on who our next opponent is going to be and figuring out that whole mess.''

The Panthers (12-4), seeded second in the NFC, will play host to either Philadelphia, Green Bay or San Francisco on January 12. A big reason they're in this position is the defense, which had nine sacks in Sunday's 21-20 victory over Atlanta to clinch the NFC South title.

McDermott is a big reason the defense has improved from one of the worst in the league to one of the best in three seasons, so it's only natural that he'd draw interest.

Minnesota, for example, ranks 31st in the league in total defense. With an offense that has Adrian Peterson, a defensive guru as a head coach might flourish.

Again, McDermott hasn't heard anything.

"When you win, sometimes good things happen and people get opportunities,'' McDermott said. "If that happens, so be it. That's part of the process.''

Does McDermott think he's ready to be a head coach?

"I do,'' he said.

Sooner rather than later?

"When is the right time?'' he said. "I'm not going to rush it. I'm a guy that believes in fate, and whatever is meant to be that's going to happen. Those things happen as a result of good players and good coaches, and I've been fortunate to have both.''