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Bills tab Sean McDermott from Panthers' staff to replace Rex Ryan
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Bills tab Sean McDermott from Panthers' staff to replace Rex Ryan

McDermott, who turns 43 in March, has directed Carolina's defense for the past six seasons after 12 years with the Eagles.

It appears the Bills are still focused on finding a defense-first path to success.

Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will replace Rex Ryan as head coach in Buffalo, the Bills announced Wednesday.

McDermott was in Buffalo for a second interview Wednesday, according to multiple reports, after meeting with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula in Florida last week.

The hope will be that McDermott, whose defense led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 a year ago, finds a way to restore the luster lost during the Ryan regime.

Buffalo's defenders ranked in the top five in the league in scoring defense, yards per game and passing yards per game in 2014 under Doug Marrone but saw their fortunes plummet under Ryan and his brother Rob, who ran the unit in 2016 and was fired Dec. 27 along with Rex. The Bills were generally a middle-of-the-pack defense statistically this season but finished a stunning 29th in the league in rushing defense, allowing 133.1 yards per game.

McDermott, who turns 43 in March, has directed Carolina's defense for the past six seasons after spending the previous 10 years on the Eagles' staff and two more in an administrative position there. His time in Philadelphia also included a Super Bowl appearance, along with six division titles.


Several reports have indicated McDermott would prefer to bring former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy with him to Buffalo as offensive coordinator. McCoy previously held that role in Denver and is widely respected around the league. However, he appears to be in high demand and could have several offers to weigh.

That would likely leave the Bills' interim coach, Anthony Lynn, working elsewhere next season. Lynn was promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator after Greg Roman was fired from that position two games into the 2016 season, then ran the team for the final game after Ryan's dismissal.

Lynn was a candidate for the full-time head coaching job in Buffalo and has interviewed or been connected with the other head coaching vacancies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Jacksonville, according to various reports.

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