DC search: A coaching prodigy

One of the possibilities to be defensive coordinator gets a ringing endorsement from Darren Sharper. Learn about this young coach in this Packer Report exclusive.

Mike Nolan, Jim Haslett, Romeo Crennel, Gregg Williams, Rod Marinelli. Those five coaches all have experience as NFL defensive coordinators and head coaches.

Today, Packer Report introduces you to some of the position coaches who could be darkhorse candidates in Green Bay to replace the ousted Bob Sanders. We start with Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Sean McDermott.

McDermott will turn 35 in March, but don't let his age fool you. He's been with the Eagles for 10 years and is well-versed in the blitz-happy 4-3 scheme of coordinator Jim Johnson.

"I don't think there are a lot of secondary coaches that are as good as Sean McDermott," Eagles coach Andy Reid said after moving McDermott back to secondary coach last year after Baltimore hired John Harbaugh as its head coach. "He was a phenomenal linebackers coach and, really, his versatility I just think is second to none."

After a standout career at William & Mary — he was a safety in the same starting secondary as Darren Sharper — McDermott quickly climbed the coaching rungs and is on track to join Hall of Famer Marv Levy and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin as the next coaching gems to come from the school.

"Mac Daddy: What do you want to know about him?" Sharper, the former Packers standout and current Vikings safety, said in a phone interview with Packer Report on Tuesday. "The one thing I remembered the most about Sean is we competed with each other so much in college, whether it was in the weight room or on the football field, that we made each other better. He was a walk-on in college and he worked his way into one of the best players on the team."

After a year as a graduate assistant at William & Mary, McDermott joined the Eagles as an assistant in the scouting department in 1998. In 2001, he was named Johnson's defensive quality-control coach, and was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach in 2002. He took over as secondary coach in 2004, when Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis became the first safety tandem in Eagles history to be voted to the Pro Bowl.

When linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo moved to the rival Giants as defensive coordinator in 2007, McDermott took over that position. In January 2008, Reid moved him back to the secondary to fill the void left by Harbaugh.

Sharper was impressed with McDermott's coaching skills at the 2003 Pro Bowl, when McDermott was part of the Eagles' staff leading the NFC squad.

"He's got a knowledge of NFL defenses," Sharper said. "He has the experience of being a coach with a great defensive coordinator (Johnson), and I think he'd do a great job."

Those who know him tell Packer Report that he's one of the hardest-working coaches in the business and is a strong leader.

If he landed in Green Bay, he'd install Johnson's scheme, which features a dizzying array of blitzes. Coach Mike McCarthy listed the lack of pressure on the quarterback as one of the key items to address this offseason. Since 2001, the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks.

Plus, when McDermott was linebackers coach, Omar Gaither blossomed en route to a 170-tackle season. Perhaps he'd be able to bring the best out of A.J. Hawk, who hasn't lived up to the billing of being the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft.

Also making McDermott a good fit is he'd run a 4-3 scheme, which the Packers' personnel is equipped to run.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com.


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