The Panthers have had continued success making the playoffs the last few seasons. Carolina's unprecedented season has only intensified interest from other teams in need of a head coach in the Panthers coordinators . When you have had a top ten defense for four consecutive seasons, it will certainly draw them to your defensive coordinator.
Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will be interviewing with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and the Tampa Buccaneers sometime next week for their head coach openings. McDermott has reportedly shown a lot of interest for the head job in Philadelphia as well according to a radio interview with a local Philly station. The Eagles have some interest too according to some sources, but nothing further has yet to be reported. McDermott spent 12 years there previously before getting let go.
McDermott was on a few radars last season along with Dan Quinn, but he stayed with Carolina another year while Quinn ultimately left and took over for the Atlanta Falcons. McDermott has turned a previously lower half of the league defense into a top ten defense for four consecutive seasons. In 2013, the Panthers defense finished second in the league behind the Seattle Seahawks, who would win the Super Bowl that season led by that top defense. Perhaps his best work, however, was done last season in 2014. After losing Greg Hardy for the season due to the domestic violence case, McDermott lost multiple players to injuries but was able to help turn the team around middle way of the season thanks to a youth movement that included rookies Tre Boston and Bene' Benwikere in the secondary. The team went from being ranked in the bottom half of the league to finishing tenth overall and making the playoffs at 7-8-1. That youth movement helped form some of the sixth ranked defense you have seen this season.
One thing is certain though with all of this, McDermott has been helped tremendously through the draft with Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera at the helm. It would be interesting to see what he could do on his own and how he would build his own team. We would hate to see him take over a blown up Browns team, but wouldn't like to see him in a division rival Tampa Bay either. The former wouldn't likely help his resume and the latter, well could hurt Carolina's.
A lot of people have voiced their opinions on saying how they think he should stay focused on the Panthers playoff run right now. Initially, I kind of felt the same way. But the truth of the matter is that he can do these interviews without it affecting his work load from time with the team. Not to mention Ron Rivera has given his full support behind it and I trust his opinion in doing so. Rivera is a defensive minded guy and I don't see him letting anything in that could be a distraction, see this 15-1 regular season.
If McDermott is fortunate enough to land one of these jobs, I wish him the best in his future and thanks for everything he's done. If not, it would be great to see him back again next season. But for now, let's work on getting him a nice title and trophy beside his name.
By Tripp Morgan
Follow him on Twitter @TrippMorgan6