Nothing has changed regarding the Ravens’ defensive coordinator vacancy and the feeling remains that the team’s linebackers coach, Dean Pees, is the clear front-runner to replace Chuck Pagano who is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Back in 1983, Pees was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Miami of Ohio in 1983, mentoring a young defensive back by the name of John Harbaugh. As a coach, Pees has worked for Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Bill Belichick.
He was the Patriots’ linebackers coach under Belichick in 2004 and 2005, and then took over as defensive coordinator in 2006 after Eric Mangini left to coach the New York Jets.
Pees was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator for four seasons, but he ultimately left the New England organization following its embarrassing 33-14 playoff loss to the Ravens in 2009 in a game where Rice ran all over Pees’ and Belichick’s defense.
There is a significant difference in opinion why Pees left New England, and eventually landed in Baltimore to coach Ray Lewis and the Ravens’ linebackers. One suggestion was that a medical condition, which prompted a brief hospital stay, was behind it, but an article last week by Ron Borges of the Boston Herald said Pees simply had a reaction to Albuterol, an inhaler medication.
There was some suggestion that that Pees was forced out, but he has denied that on several occasions. Pees’ explanation? His contract was expiring and he simply felt that it was time for a change.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his departure, it’s hard to argue that Pees didn’t have some success while leading the New England defense.
During his four-year tenure as New England’s defensive coordinator, the Patriots were the only team in the NFL to finish in the top 10 in scoring defense each season, allowing less than 20 points per game every year during that span.
In his first season as Patriots’ defensive coordinator in 2006, Pees’ defense set a franchise-record for points allowed per game (14.8), which was also the second lowest total in the NFL, and finished fourth in the league in takeaways.
The following year as New England had a 16-0 regular season before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, the defense ranked fourth in the NFL in yards per game (288.3), the fewest permitted yards by a Patriots’ defense in 28 years. It also finished second in the league with 47 sacks and sent three starters (Vince Wilfork, Mike Vrabel and Asante Samuel) to the Pro Bowl.
Despite needing to use 22 different starters in 2008, the Patriots’ defense ranked second in the NFL, permitting 309.9 yards per game.
Pees’ final season with the Patriots was in 2009, when his unit ranked fifth in scoring defense at 17.8 yards allowed.
In the two years he’s been gone, the Patriots have ranked 25th and 31st in yards per game allowed, while surrendering 19.6 and 21.4 points per game. According to the Herald story, the Patriots’ defense averaged 17.2 points per game in four seasons under Pees, and 20.5 in two seasons since he’s been gone.
Just some food for thought as the Ravens mull hiring him as their new defensive coordinator.