McDermott, 39, who played safety for William and Mary, is now in his 14th NFL season, and third as Carolina’s defensive coordinator.
McDermott has emerged as a head coaching candidate after taking over a Carolina defense that ranked among the worst in the league in 2010 and transforming it into one of the league’s top units. This season, the Panthers ranked second in the league, limiting teams to 301.3 yards and 15.1 points per game.
The Panthers rank sixth against the pass (214.3 yards per game) and second against the run (86.9 yards a game).
McDermott’s unit led the NFL with 60 sacks this season, and Carolina’s 20 interceptions tied for third. The 17 passing touchdowns surrendered by the Panthers were third-fewest in the NFL.
Carolina allowed opponents to convert 35.8 percent of their third downs (12th-best in the league), but the 278 first downs accumulated by their opponents as a whole were second fewest in the NFL.
Carolina ranked 10th in the league in total defense (333.1 ypg) and 18th in scoring (22.7). In his first season in Carolina, McDermott’s unit ranked 28th in total defense (377.6 ypg) and 27th in points allowed (26.8).
Under McDermott’s tutelage, Luke Kuechly has quickly developed into one of the top middle linebackers in the league, and defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy last season became the first Panthers duo since 2002 to record double-digit sacks.
Kuechley ranked fourth in the NFL this season with 154 tackles and also had four interceptions (tied for first on his team).
Johnson recorded 12.5 sacks last season and 11 this season. Hardy, meantime, tallied 11 sacks in 2012 and 15 this year.
This is McDermott’s second defensive coordinator stint. He held the same position in Philadelphia in 2009 and 2010.
McDermott and the Eagles finished the 2009 season ranked 12th in total defense (321.1 ypg) and 19th in points allowed (21.1). The unit again ranked 12th in yards (327.2) the following year, but slipped to 21st in points allowed (23.6). McDermott’s unit also surrendered a franchise-worst 31 touchdown passes and ranked last in the league in the red zone, leading Andy Reid to fire him following the season.
McDermott became the Eagles’ defensive coordinator 10 years after breaking into the NFL as a scouting assistant with the Eagles. From there, he worked his way up, starting as assistant to the head coach, defensive assistant, to assistant defensive backs coach, secondary coach, and then linebackers and secondary coach. In the spring of 2009, McDermott took over as interim defensive coordinator when Jim Johnson took a medical leave of absence. Johnson died that July, and McDermott became the full-time defensive coordinator.
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