Combine Notes: QB Questions, Rivera’s Surprise

Ron Rivera discussed why Sean McDermott hasn't gotten a head coaching job yet.

Sean McDermott. (USA Today Sports)

Sean McDermott. (USA Today Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS — Just one week after the Eagles fired Chip Kelly, Sean McDermott appeared on Philadelphia sports talk radio and indicated he was interested in the job. But Jeffrey Lurie never interviewed the Panthers defensive coordinator, and despite sit-downs with the Browns and Buccaneers, McDermott won’t be a head coach for at least one more season.

“I am surprised I still have him,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday at the NFL Combine. “To a degree, I understand when you go as far as we did in the playoffs, it’s going to eliminate some opportunities. I’ve been through that, so I know how he feels. I do think he’s ready. I think he’s had a great career as a coordinator for us.”

McDermott, who has been Carolina’s defensive coordinator for the past five years, oversaw a unit that ranked first in turnovers and second in points allowed per drive last season. Before he joined the Panthers, McDermott worked for the Eagles in a variety of roles for 12 years while learning defense under Jim Johnson.

But McDermott was ultimately fired in Philadelphia, and one criticism he’s faced in Carolina is that the defense is really Rivera’s unit.

“He’s built a defense. Sean controls the defense; I just pretty much oversee the football team,” Rivera said. “Sean’s had the opportunity to build a defense, he’s had an opportunity to call games and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished as a coordinator.”


The NFL Combine can be a strange place.

Were you bullied as a child for your tiny hands?

That was the first question posed to California’s Jared Goff. Although it was a joke, it underscored a simultaneously interesting and absurd fascination with hand size in Indianapolis.

His 9-inch hands are apparently undersized for a quarterback, which has brought about a debate over whether it’s a meaningless measurement or important indicator. New Browns head coach Hue Jackson believes the latter.

“Oh yes, it does. It does,” Jackson said. “It matters because we play in a division where all of a sudden there’s rain, there’s snow and it’s different. I think guys that have big hands can grip the ball better in those environmental situations and so we’ll look for a guy that fits what we’re looking for in a quarterback. Is hand size important? Yes, it is.”

Goff, meanwhile, found the issue comical.

“Yeah, I’ve played football my whole life and never had any problem with that,” he said.

Carson Wentz, who draft analysts say is battling Goff to be the first quarterback drafted this year, also weighed in.

“It’s something cool to talk about,” Wentz said. “Gives you guys something fun to write about, but I think it’s just another measurement that they do here just because.”

After addressing the hand size questions, Goff revealed that he and the North Dakota State quarterback have been preparing for the draft together in Irvine, California for the last two months.

“It’s just like anything else, when we go out there and we throw together by no means is it cutthroat,” Goff said, “but we’re competitive with each other and just trying to do our best every day.”