By HCR Staff | Sept. 8, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
In 2016, Todd Bowles entered his first season as an NFL head coach, and he took the Jets to the playoffs.
In 2017, Adam Gase entered his first season as an NFL head coach, and he took the Dolphins to the playoffs.
Last season, Sean McDermott entered his first season as an NFL head coach, and he ended the Buffalo Bills’ 18-year playoff drought with a wild-card appearance.
Three rookie head coaches in three consecutive years in the AFC East, each with a playoff appearance in their debut.
Now the question is whether McDermott suffers the same fate as Bowles and Gase — subsequent double-digit losing seasons.
We found McDermott to be a fairly steady hand at the wheel during games. He spent a lot of time under Andy Reid and Ron Rivera and, to some degree, he has elements of both in him, which results in some head-scratching decisions.
For example, in Week 11 the Bills were fighting to stay in playoff contention. They had just lost two consecutive games and they needed to reclaim some pep in their step. McDermott, however, strangely made the decision to bench starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and start rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman. Bills brass apparently really wanted to see Peterman in action, but Week 11 was a road game in Los Angeles against a very good Chargers defense.
The result was predictable: an awful 54-24 loss.
We actually get the desire to take a look at a rookie quarterback — this happens all the time. But doing it after your team has lost two consecutive games and was facing a cross-country trip three time zones away vs. an elite defense? We don’t like the conclusion McDermott came to there.
Nevertheless, McDermott finished strong, and has brought higher expectations for the Bills. He has a physically gifted QB now, with the kind of skills that can take over games.
But it is going to take time. BIlls fans are committed, though — after all, they waited 18 years for one play-off game.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Todd Bowles, New York Jets