Buffalo Bills new Coach Sean McDermott ushered in the post-Rex Ryan era by making no bold promises in his vision to restore relevance to a franchise in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought.
McDermott was short and to the point during his inaugural news conference on Friday. The 42-year-old first-time head coach said he’s familiar with the challenges of rebuilding defenses, and is leaning on his 18 years of NFL experience, which include two Super Bowl losses as an assistant.
The first step is reinvigorating a winning culture on a team that has enjoyed just two winning seasons since last reaching the playoffs in 1999.
“I understand the expectations that come with a job of this magnitude,” McDermott said. “I’m hungry. I’m not going to shy away from this challenge.”
The only promise the former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator made is a vow to field a competitive team. That’s a far departure from two years ago, when Ryan boasted of his intention to build the Bills into bullies.
McDermott spent the past six seasons overseeing the Panthers defense that enjoyed top 10 finishes in four of the past five years. That included 2015, when Carolina went 15-1 and lost the Super Bowl to Denver. He previously spent 12 seasons in Philadelphia, and was an assistant on the Eagles team that lost the 2005 Super Bowl to New England.
“I’ve gone to two Super Bowls. I know what that looks like and smells like and tastes like,” he said. “I feel extremely confident with my ability to lead this franchise moving forward.”
McDermott becomes the 20th coach in franchise history and 10th since Wade Phillips last led the Bills to the playoffs during the 1999 season.
In other coaching moves:
New Coach Vance Joseph hired Mike McCoy as the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, and the defending champs will also be getting new defensive coordinator since Phillips is joining the Rams and special teams coordinator as Joe DeCamillis took the same position in Jacksonville. The team also terminated the contracts of offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, offensive line coach Clancy Barone and tight ends coach Brian Pariani.
The Carolina Panthers promoted Steve Wilks to defensive coordinator. Wilks has served as the defensive backs coach since 2012 and was given the additional title of assistant head coach in 2015.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive coordinator Mike Smith to a contract extension, ending speculation about where the former Falcons coach might wind up next season. Smith interviewed with the Jaguars and the Chargers.
Receiver Jordy Nelson will miss the Green Bay Packers’ divisional round playoff game on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys because of injured ribs. Coach said Friday that Nelson would not be cleared to take part in the team’s final practice on Saturday, and the medical staff determined he would not be ready for the game. … Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston was limited in the final practice for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh, though his game status was left blank on the final injury report. That means Houston should be available for the first time since a loss to Tennessee on Dec. 18. Chiefs safety Eric Berry and running back Spencer Ware practiced fully all week and are also expected to play.
Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter was back at work with the team on Friday and will travel to Sunday’s playoff game in Kansas City after prosecutors dropped all but two minor charges — summary disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness — stemming from an altercation outside a Pittsburgh bar last weekend. The two citations each carry fines up to $500 and 90 days in jail. … The court case for Cincinnati Bengals player Adam “Pacman” Jones is on hold until Feb. 10. Prosecutor Joe Deters has said he wants to know first what punishment Jones faces from the NFL. Jones’ attorneys agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial. An NFL spokesman said Thursday that Jones’ case “remains under review.” Jones was jailed Jan. 3 on charges he head-butted police and spit on a nurse after his arrest for assault. ...
Packers cornerback Sam Shields has entered a not guilty plea to marijuana possession. Shields, who has been sidelined since October because of a concussion, was charged with two misdemeanors, possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, after he allowed officers to search his Green Bay area home in October. A criminal complaint says officers went to Shields’ home after he received a package from Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana is legal. The complaint says Shields acknowledged having marijuana in his home. …
David Modell, the first president of the Baltimore Ravens and the son of former team owner Art Modell, died Friday. He was 55. He had cancer for two years, the team said. Modell served as president of the Ravens from their beginning in 1996 until 2004. He was instrumental in the selection of the team’s name and colors and helped orchestrate the move to the Ravens’ new stadium in 1998. Modell played a role in hiring Brian Billick, who coached Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory in 2000.