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The Sports Daily > Buffalo Wins
What makes McDermott Different From Past Drought Coaches By Joe

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History is the biggest enemy when it comes to being a Bills fan. Nothing is ever easy. It is a lot like having a terrible record with relationships/dating. You don’t want to fall in love after a few dates or get excited for that first date because of past failures. It gets old and frustrating when your expectations aren’t met or your lover turns out to be a fraud. After every failure, you tend to go into a new date or in this case a new hirer, with complete cautiousism. Yes, I made up a word. It’s not pessimistic or being cautiously optimistic. It’s ‘cautiousism’. You are just worried and waiting to see what happens before you decide to anoint this or that person as “THE ONE”.

For 17 years, anytime something new has happened for the franchise, it tends to be met with skepticism because of the constant failures that precluded it. I can’t blame anyone who isn’t blown away by anything this franchise does. History says it always turns to shit. It’s hard to get excited about any Bills coaching hire because we have been there before. I’ve seen the Bills get the drill sergeant coach, the laid back players coach, the college guy, the retreads, the Ivy League friend of the Ivy League GM, and the poster boy/coach for belligerence. They have all failed and it is hard to really get excited when it comes to the new guy coming into town.

The incumbent coach is usually a 180 in terms of demeanor and resume from his predecessor. Sean McDermott seems different from Rex based on his defenses and being an attention to detail type of coach. If I’m using my Bills historical radar memory bank, it feels a little like when Gregg Williams took over for Wade Phillips. The narrative for Wade when he was fired was that he didn’t pay attention to detail and was a bit lazy and boom…blowhard Gregg hits the ground running and changes the defense and everything. That seems to be what McDermott is going to do since we’ve heard discipline and how waaaay different his defense scheme is from Rex.

Still, I don’t want this piece to be reliving bad coaching moves or hope leading to true despair. This piece is dedicated so when you are at a bar and someone says McDermott reminds you if this or that previous Bills coach, you got something to counter it to make him your own. Keep in mind ALL these numbers are based on what they did BEFORE they got the Bills job, not after.

Most experienced coordinator

  • McDermott- 8 years as a DC
  • Gregg Williams- 4 years as a DC
  • Mike Mularkey- 3 years as OC
  • Chan Gailey- 8 years as OC
  • Dick Jauron-6 years as DC
  • Doug Marrone- 3 years as OC
  • Rex Ryan- 4 years as a DC

These numbers are based on how many years each former Bills coach had as a coordinator prior to being hired. McDermott is tied with Chan in that regard. Of course, Chan, Jauron, and Rex were former HC before they became in charge of the Bills, but if we are going through preparation as a coordinator, McDermott leads the pack for the drought. As for Chan, he did his coordinator between 1989 and 2008 which shows just how long he was around the league.

Ranked in the Top 5 in offense or defense as coordinator before getting Bills job

  • Rex Ryan- 2
  • Gregg Williams-1
  • Doug Marrone- 3 (Note: He didn’t call offensive plays)
  • Dick Jauron- 1
  • Chan Gailey- 0
  • Mike Mularkey- 2
  • Sean McDermott- 2

So he’s tied with Rex and Mularkey. Alright, not exacting separating from the pack, HOWEVER, he didn’t inherit a great defense in Carolina or was promoted from within like Rex and Mularkey were in Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Age at taking the Bills HC job

  • Sean McDermott- 42
  • Rex Ryan- 53
  • Doug Marrone- 49
  • Chan Gailey-58
  • Dick Jauron-56
  • Gregg Williams-43
  • Mike Mularkey-43

Aha! Alright, he’s only like a year younger than Gregg Williams and Mularkey. Still he’s the youngest coach of the drought and had the most experience as a coordinator than any of the guys above. I’ve never been a big “HE’S GOTTA BE A YOUNG COACH” fan. Good coaching comes from all ages and sizes and you shouldn’t pigeon hole yourself in regards to what you want. For those who obsess over age vs. experience, it’s the best of both worlds when you look at it what McDermott’s age and experience is.

Places coached as a coordinator

  • Sean McDermott- Carolina/Philly- Rivera/Reid
  • Rex Ryan- Baltimore- Brian Billick/John Harbaugh
  • Doug Marrone- New Orleans- Sean Payton
  • Chan Gailey- Denver/Pittsburgh/Miami/KC- Reeves/Cowher/Wannstedt/Herm
  • Dick Jauron- Jacksonville/Detroit/Green Bay
  • Gregg Williams-Tennessee-Jeff Fisher
  • Mike Mularkey- Pittsburgh- Bill Cowher

For the most part, there isn’t too much separation, but Eagles/Panthers have been successful franchises while McDermott was there. Plus, I tend to think the Andy Reid coaching tree is a bit more successful than the other trees involved when it comes to being a HC. Cowher had a lot of guys get coaching gigs, but they fizzled out (Some are on this list). Coughlin never really had anyone other than Gilbride/Jauron/Spags get HC gigs elsewhere and this trio were complete failures as HCs. With Andy Reid, you got John Harbaugh, Todd Bowles and Doug Peterson as HCs. Plus, with Rivera, you kind of get the Lovie Smith tree since Rivera was the DC in Chicago under Lovie and there’s a lot of Lovie guys across the NFL. Additionally, McDermott has run two different types of defenses. Under the Eagles umbrella, to truncate the Jimmy Johnson defense in a few words, it was basically the 4-3 version of Rex Ryan’s defense with tons of blitzing and guys playing man-to-man coverage. In Carolina, it’s the opposite as it doesn’t rely on blitzing all that much and CBs played more zone. So, we have a guy who has adapted unlike the guy we just had.

Playoff appearances as coordinator

  • Sean McDermott- 5
  • Rex Ryan- Baltimore- 2 (4 if you include Jets HC job)
  • Doug Marrone- New Orleans- 1
  • Chan Gailey-5 (7 if you include Cowboys HC Job)
  • Dick Jauron- 4 (5 if you included Bears HC Job)
  • Gregg Williams- 2
  • Mike Mularkey- 2

If we are going by playoff appearances as a coordinator, McDermott is tied with Chan Gailey. Gailey made the playoffs in 89′ with Denver, 96′ and 97′ with Denver, and 2000/2001 with Miami. Chan actually had decent playoff success with Pitt/Denver as both teams went to the SB. As for McDermott, he made the SB last year with Carolina. Still, 5 out of 8 years in making the playoffs for McDermott is a pretty good ratio. Plus, he was only fired once while Chan was fired at every gig except for Pitt/Miami.

Final word:

For the most part, I’ve never really get all that excited whenever the Bills have hired a new coach. What excites me is when they actually fire the previous buffoon and then to see what players they bring in next. Yeah, players are what will always get me excited the most. For McDermott, I think the biggest different between the previous coaches is experience as a coordinator vs. his age. It’s remarkable that he was a DC at the age of 34 and has been doing that for 8 years. Unless you were a retread, none of the previous Bills coaches can come close to that when it came to paying their dues and being that young.

If you can believe it, I actually don’t have too many reservations about this hire. If we are going back to the Bills memory bank of mine, I preferred Marvin Lewis over Gregg Williams. I didn’t like Mularkey because rumor had it that Cowher was going to fire him as the OC. Jauron was going up against Mike Sherman and I preferred the latter as I thought Jauron was a one hit wonder in his year in Chicago and Sherman came from a better W/L record. Chan I Fucking despised since the coaching search of 2009 (No one wanted to come here or interview) was awful and Ralph didn’t want to adhere to Buddy’s advance on bringing in Marty Schottenheimer. The Marrone hire had a different feel, but it was a shit field they were interviewing and his Syracuse W/L record wasn’t giving me a boner. Rex was all about media hype and finally getting the big fish.

For McDermott, maybe it has to do with the small field they interviewed from or the fact that the Panthers have the 2nd most sacks and most takeaways since 2013, but I dig his resume. Of course, it could be that at this point, our previous coaching failures have been so bad, I don’t know what the hell a good coach looks like anymore.