The Buffalo Bills are scheduled to interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott Wednesday for their head-coaching vacancy, The News learned Tuesday and the Bills confirmed Wednesday.
Besides McDermott, the Bills are expected to interview at least four other candidates to become Rex Ryan's replacement, an NFL source said. Team owners Terry and Kim Pegula, General Manager Doug Whaley and director of player personnel Jim Monos will be present for the interviews, the source said.
Whaley, who is leading the coaching search, confirmed Monday that another head-coaching candidate the Bills will interview is Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bills would interview Goodwin Saturday.
Elsewhere on the Bills' pursuit of a new coach:
*There is buzz around the NFL that Anthony Lynn, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to interim head coach of the Bills, might no longer desire to be a candidate for the full-time job, even though other reports have him as the front-runner. Lynn is interviewing for head-coaching openings with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
*The Bills reached out to Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman to say they were interested in interviewing Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, although they had yet to submit a formal request for permission to interview the former Bills quarterback and had yet to schedule an interview as of Tuesday. The Bills interviewed Reich before hiring Ryan in January of 2015.
*Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin was thought to be a leading candidate to join the Bills either as a coach and/or someone who would oversee their football operations, but the Bills had yet to reach out to him as of Tuesday, The News learned. A source said it was unlikely Coughlin would interview with the team because of his discomfort with working with Whaley.
McDermott, 42, has overseen the Panthers' defense since 2011. His defenses ranked in the top 10 in the NFL from 2012 to 2015, but fell to 21st (two spots below the Bills) during the Panthers' 6-10 finish in 2016. The Panthers were sixth against the run, 26th in points allowed (25.1 per game) and 29th against the pass.
However, he did take a unit that lacked a dominant pass-rusher to second in the league in sacks.
McDermott has previously interviewed for head-coaching openings with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the way to the Panthers' 15-1 record, followed by an appearance in Super Bowl 50, Carolina's defense was first in the NFL in interceptions, takeaways and turnover differential, and sixth overall.
Goodwin, 43, helped lead a Cardinals offense that ranked first in the NFL in 2015 for the first time in franchise history. It also set franchise records for points (489), touchdowns (59), touchdown passes (35), total net yards (6,533), and first downs (373).
Goodwin has been the Cardinals' offensive coordinator since 2013, and spent 10 seasons as an assistant working with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, going back to when Arians as offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.