NFL Nation: Ashley Fox

Sizing up the candidates: Sean McDermott

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
5:45
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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.

Did Reid make the right pitch?

March, 25, 2010
3/25/10
2:27
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Donovan McNabbJody Gomez/US PresswireMight quarterback Donovan McNabb be on the move? The Eagles are said to be entertaining offers.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you were hoping the Donovan McNabb era would officially end in Philadelphia, Tuesday and Wednesday provided watershed moments. Andy Reid, perhaps McNabb’s biggest defender, said he’s all ears if someone wants to trade for the veteran quarterback.

Reid’s statement after the season that McNabb would be his starting quarterback in 2010 was left dangling in the wind, although we’re reviewing tapes to see if his fingers were crossed. I’ve had the sense for the past two months that club president Joe Banner and new general manager Howie Roseman were leaning toward moving McNabb, but it was hard to imagine Reid getting on board.

On Tuesday in a Ritz-Carlton restaurant, Reid sounded the retreat. He told a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist the Eagles were “entertaining” offers on all three quarterbacks, but McNabb was obviously the headliner. Despite the infamous ’08 benching in Baltimore, Reid and McNabb have remained close over the past decade. But apparently someone in the building has convinced Reid that he should at least be open to the idea of moving McNabb while he still holds some trade value.

On Tuesday afternoon, while other head coaches rushed off to tee times, I saw Reid, owner Jeff Lurie, Banner and Roseman huddle for several minutes in a breezeway outside the hotel. About 30 minutes later, Reid was uncharacteristically spilling his guts to a Philadelphia newspaper. At 7 o'clock the next morning, Reid attempted to temper some of his remarks.

“I'm listening," said Reid. "I'm not saying I'm doing anything, but I'm keeping my ears open, which we do on every player. This is no different. ... I mean, Donovan's our No. 1 quarterback, and Kevin [Kolb]'s our No. 2 quarterback, and Michael [Vick]'s our No. 3 quarterback. That's how I feel.”

So this is no different than, say, trading for linebacker Will Witherspoon during the regular season? No, this is way different than any trade Reid’s been involved with. He’s openly admitting that the one player his coaching career is most intertwined with is being shopped. And the point that some folks are missing is that Reid’s also showing immense trust that the 25-year-old Kolb can hit the ground running as the franchise quarterback. (Try not to think about the fact the Eagles will enter 2010 with major questions at center and right guard, Kevin.)

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