Sizing up the candidates: Sean McDermott

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
5:45
PM ET
The Washington Redskins will interview with Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott this weekend, according to multiple reports (and confirmed by a league source). They've also requested permission to interview Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Let's take a look at McDermott's data:

Age: 39

[+] EnlargeSean McDermott
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonPanthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could be a contender for the Washington Redskins' head coach job.
What he's doing: McDermott has been the Panthers’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. Head coach Ron Rivera is a former defensive coordinator so it’s tough to know how much of the Panthers’ success stems from McDermott. Regardless, the Panthers’ defense finished No. 2 in both total yards and points per game. McDermott inherited a unit that ranked No. 26. They were No. 27 in his first year and 18th a year ago. They went from 28th to 10th in scoring in those years.

Past stops: McDermott started with Philadelphia in 2001 as a scouting administrative coordinator and worked his way up in the organization, becoming the secondary/safeties coach in 2008, the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator from 2009-10, replacing the late Jim Johnson.

What I’ve heard about him: All I knew about McDermott was that Philadelphia fired him after the 2010 season and that his current Panthers’ defense is a good one. Earlier this year, former Eagles coach Andy Reid texted ESPN.com columnist Ashley Fox about the interest in McDermott becoming a head coach: "He deserves it. Hard working. Smart. Honest. Good person." Two others who worked with him described him the same way. One NFL executive said via text, “I really like Sean. He will be a very good head coach, smart, disciplined, confident.” McDermott also was described as a no-nonsense guy; detailed, tireless. He worked under a fantastic defensive coordinator in Johnson and clearly paid attention. But during his last season as the Eagles' defensive boss, McDermott was criticized for having schemes that were "too complicated."

Is he a good fit: I like that the Redskins are talking to him and not just fixating on an offensive coach. It would be foolish to focus on one side of the ball, perhaps passing up the opportunity to find a good coach. I like the qualities he possesses and I think those would be welcomed at Redskins Park. Whether it’s McDermott or someone else, it would be good for the Redskins to find an assistant coach with energy and a desire to prove himself. But if you’re going to hire a defensive head coach, he’d better have a good plan for quarterback Robert Griffin III and the offense. His most important hire would be the offensive coordinator, who will work closely with Griffin.

Suggested reading: The initial story on McDermott being fired in Philadelphia ESPN.com columnist Ashley Fox wrote about McDermott earlier this season and his continued rise…How the Panthers’ defensive staff operatesMcDermott said he believes he’ll be a head coach some day....Problems in Philadelphia.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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