Bills to interview McDermott again for coaching search

Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott walks across the field before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Bills will interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott for the second time in a week in their head-coaching search.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions says the meeting will take place on Wednesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press late Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the Bills have not announced the interview.

McDermott’s initial meeting with the Bills happened last Wednesday. He was the first of four candidates to interview for the job to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired two weeks ago.

McDermott has 18 seasons of NFL coaching experience, including the past six overseeing Carolina’s defense.

The Panthers enjoyed four straight seasons of being ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in fewest yards allowed before taking a step back this season.

Carolina finished 21st in yards allowed, giving up 500-plus yards three times. The pass defense particularly suffered a drop-off following the loss of star defensive back Josh Norman, who signed with Washington in free agency.

The defense still finished sixth against the run and ranked second with 47 sacks.

In 2015, McDermott oversaw a defense that played a key role in the Panthers going 15-1 and reaching the Super Bowl, which they lost to Denver.

The Bills are in the midst of their seventh coaching search since Wade Phillips was fired following the 2000 season.

Buffalo went 7-9 last year and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons.

Ryan lasted one game short of completing his second year. His dismissal was the result of an under-performing defense, which was supposed to be his specialty.

The Bills gave up 200-yard rushing performances three times – including two to Miami’s Jay Ajayi.

Ryan was replaced by offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who served as Buffalo’s interim coach in a season-ending 30-10 loss at the New York Jets.

Lynn interviewed for the Bills job on Thursday, and is considered an obvious candidate to take over after overseeing an offense that has led the NFL in rushing the past two years.

The Bills also have interviewed Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed to this story.

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