Dawkins: Bucs candidate McDermott well-prepared to coach
Among the three candidates to interview for the Bucs' head coaching vacancy is Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, and the 41-year-old got an endorsement Wednesday from nine-time Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins, who played under McDermott with the Eagles.
"One of the things you start with with Sean is he's a hard worker. Very hard worker," said Dawkins, now an analyst with ESPN in a phone interview Wednesday. "Learning under Jim Johnson, learning under Andy Reid, he's going to have a lot of details to help him along the way."
McDermott came up as an Eagles assistant from 2000 to 2008 and was elevated to defensive coordinator after Johnson's passing in 2009, and Dawkins said McDermott learned much from that challenge, being thrust into a position as a coordinator younger than some of his players.
"He learned a lot about the pressure of being the guy calling the shots," Dawkins said. "You see what he's doing now with Carolina. He has a lot of what it takes to be a head coach, and I'm happy to see him getting looks at that opportunity."
McDermott had also interviewed for the Browns' opening, which went to Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson on Wednesday. Dawkins said he was surprised the Eagles hadn't interviewed McDermott for their vacancy as well.
Dawkins said McDermott's defense is similar to what the Eagles had in the early 2000s under Johnson, getting enough consistent pressure from the front four that they don't need to do a ton of blitzing to get to the quarterback, putting the secondary at risk. His Panthers defenses have ranked in the top 10 in total defense in each the last four years, leading the NFL in takeaways this season and ranking sixth in scoring defense.
"He's very confident in who he is," Dawkins said. "He doesn't feel like he's a young coach that has to do things outside of his personality. He'll get on a guy if he need be -- he's fiery in that respect. Very detailed in how he goes about correcting guys, keeping notes on how you can better. He was very instrumental in calming me down, in me not trying to do everybody else's job. He did that for other guys as well."