The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have scheduled their first head coaching interview, or at least the first head coaching interview we know of. According to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports, they'll interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott this weekend.
While several reports suggested that the Bucs fired Lovie Smith specifically to hire Dirk Koetter, the fact that McDermott is being interviewed shows that their search will indeed be a little bit wider than that, even if Koetter is the favorite. McDermott's interview does not count for the Rooney Rule, which mandates the Bucs interview at least
Gambit for Bucs is if they can land head coach they want most (if not Koetter) and still retain Koetter as OC for continuity with Winston.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 8, 2016
McDermott has been the Panthers defensive coordinator since 2011, overseeing one of the best defenses in the league over that period. He spent nearly his entire career before that with the Eagles, serving in various scouting and coaching roles from 1999 through 2010, serving as the secondary coach and defensive coordinator for the final two years. He learned an aggressive, blitz-heavy version of a 4-3 defense under Jim Johnson in Philadelphia, while he's running a more traditional version of the 4-3 under Ron Rivera. In fact, the current Panthers scheme is essentially the same as Lovie Smith's.
General manager Jason Licht, who's running the Bucs' head coaching search, knows McDermott from his time in Philadelphia where the two worked together for three years.
If the Bucs hire McDermott, they'll be hiring their fourth consecutive defensive-minded head coach. The last time the Bucs actually made the playoffs was under their last offensive head coach in Jon Gruden. They'll also have to either persuade Dirk Koetter to stay and not take a head coaching job elsewhere, or find themselves a new offensive coordinator.