Redskins' coaching search: Sean McDermott

Redskins' coaching search: Sean McDermott
January 7, 2014, 2:00 pm
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What's the latest on the Redskins coaching search?

Since firing Mike Shanahan, the Redskins have done exactly what GM Bruce Allen said they would: The team has cast a wide net in its coaching search.

The Redskins have interviewed, or have requested to interview, at least 10 current NFL coordinators and one college coach. In the coming days, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give you the skinny on each of the candidates.

Who: Sean McDermott, Panthers defensive coordinator (2011-present)

Other NFL experience: From 1999-2008, McDermott held various titles with the Eagles, including scouting assistant, assistant to the head coach, defensive quality control, safeties coach, linebackers coach and defensive backs. From 2009-10, he was the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.

Age: 39

Accomplishments: Earned all conference honors as a safety at William & Mary, where he overlapped with Mike Tomlin and Darren Sharper. Wrestling national champion in high school.

[RELATED: Should RG3 have input on the coaching search?]

Notable Redskins connections: None. But he has an interesting connection to Washington: McDermott’s older brother, Tim, was the Capitals’ chief marketing officer who spearheaded the team’s return to red white and blue uniforms. 

Bottom line: Although McDermott does not have any head coaching experience, he has a detailed understanding of the NFL team operation, having worked his way up from a graduate assistant to scouting assistant to position coach to coordinator. But that’s not why he’s a head coaching candidate in Washington. He earned that distinction with his unit’s results. In three years, McDermott, who runs a 4-3 alignment, has turned the Panthers into one of the NFL’s top defensive teams. In 2010—the season before his arrival in Carolina—the unit ranked 18th. This season, the Panthers led the league in sacks (60) and ranked second in both yards allowed per game (301.3) and points (15.1). For comparison’s sake, the Redskins were tied for 30th in points allowed (29.9). McDermott, a former college safety, has a hands-on approach in the secondary, which also happens to be the Redskins’ weakest area on defense. Redskins GM Bruce Allen interviewed McDermott last week in Charlotte. But even if he does get the nod, Allen cannot offer him the job until the Panthers’ season is done.