Dean Pees

Titans DC Dean Pees Taken To Hospital

Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees was taken to a local hospital after suffering a “medical issue” during today’s game against the Colts, the club announced.

Pees, 69, previously announced his retirement in January after six seasons as the Ravens’ defensive play-caller, but he changed his mind about continuing his NFL career after Mike Vrabel was hired as Tennessee’s head coach. Pees was hired as the Titans’ defensive coordinator at the end of January, and has led a defense that currently ranks in 12th in DVOA.

While it’s unclear who is currently calling defensive plays for the Titans, Vrabel does have experience as a DC. PFR extends it best wishes to Pees and wishes him a speedy recovery.

Coaching Rumors: Ravens, Lions, Steelers

Dean Pees‘ retirement from the Ravens didn’t last long as he became the Titans’ defensive coordinator less than a month later. The about-face took Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti by surprise.

I’m a little shocked,” Bisciotti said (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). “He’s 68 years old. It’s hard to give it up, I guess.”

Bisciotti didn’t come right out and say it, but it sounds like Pees went to the Titans in part because they were willing to employ his son, Matt Pees, as a quality control coach.

I wish Dean all the luck,” Bisciotti said. “I understand he got his son in; I think that was a big point of his. We have a nepotism rule that may have prohibited that from happening in the last few years.”

Here’s more from the coaching world:

  • Following Carnell Lake‘s resignation from the position of Steelers secondary coach, Pittsburgh’s brass reached into the college ranks to fill the post. UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will leave Los Angeles to become the Steelers’ new DBs boss, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Bradley is a Pennsylvania native who spent 33 seasons on Joe Paterno’s staff — from 1979-2011. He coached the Bruins’ defense for the past three years. The 61-year-old Bradley will be on an NFL sideline for the first time come 2018.
  • In addition to formally announcing former Boston College defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni as their new defensive coordinator and keeping Jim Bob Cooter on as offensive coordinator, the Lions have also named several other members of new head coach Matt Patricia‘s staff. Chris White has been hired as Detroit’s tight ends coach, while former Miami head coach Al Golden will remain on staff as the club’s linebackers coach (he’d previously coached tight ends). Most of White’s experience has come at the collegiate level, but he did serve as the Vikings’ assistant special teams coach from 2009-12. The Lions also officially announced several other coaching hires that had been previously reported, including George Godsey (quarterbacks), Jeff Davidson (offensive line), and Brian Stewart (defensive backs), plus one that hadn’t in David Corrao (director of football research).
  • A 49ers defensive assistant for the past three years, former NFL DC Jason Tarver will become a coach outside of California for the first time in his 20-plus-year career. Tarver agreed to take the defensive coordinator job at Vanderbilt, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Raiders’ DC from 2012-14, Tarver enjoyed two stints with the 49ers — the first from 2001-10. He coached alongside current Vanderbilt HC Derek Mason in 2011 at Stanford.
  • Speaking of the Commodores, the SEC program also announced former Browns assistant Shawn Mennenga will oversee Vandy’s special teams units in 2018 (Twitter link). The Browns let Menneaga walk after he served seven seasons under previous ST coordinator Chris Tabor.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Steelers, Ben, Bell

As the Ravens seek to repair their offense in 2018, they should target free agent tight end Jimmy Graham, opines Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has always displayed a proclivity for throwing to tight ends, and Graham could give the Ravens a valuable weapon in the red zone (each of Graham’s 10 touchdowns all came from inside the 20). While he did score often, Graham is entering his age-32 campaign and only managed 520 receiving yards on the season. Football Outsiders‘ DVOA metric, which records value on a per-play basis, wasn’t fond of Graham either, as he ranked just 28th out of 51 qualified tight ends. However, that was a higher finish than any of Baltimore’s tight ends from a year ago. The Ravens only have $10.5MM in available 2018 cap space, so adding any free agents might be tough unless general manager Ozzie Newsome & Co. release a few veterans or restructure contracts.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Dean Pees quickly accepted an offer to become the Titans’ defensive coordinator under new head coach Mike Vrabel shortly after “retiring” as the Ravens‘ DC, leading to questions about whether Pees was forced out of Baltimore. However, Pees said today that wasn’t the case, per Hensley (Twitter link). Pees helped the Ravens to the No. 3 defensive DVOA ranking a season ago, so it would have been surprising if head coach John Harbaugh removed Pees from his staff. Although Tennessee now employs a defensive head coach in Vrabel, Pees is expected to call the plays for the Titans.
  • With a solid core in place, the Steelers‘ personnel plan involves inking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a multi-year extension and signing running back Le’Veon Bell in the short-term, argues Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Roethlisberger wants to play for at least three more seasons, so Pittsburgh can reduce his 2018 cap charge by giving him a new signing bonus, the cap hit of which would be spread across multiple seasons. Bell, meanwhile, has a “conviction to set a healthier market for running backs,” but has indicated he’d accept the franchise tag next season.
  • Keeping stability among their most talented players is essential for the Steelers, but so is ensuring continuity on a staff that parted ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley earlier this year. Head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t going anywhere, but as for the reports indicating a Steelers minority ownership group had pushed for Tomlin’s firing“I didn’t get that letter yet,” Steelers majority owner Art Rooney II sad, per Fowler (Twitter link). “I don’t know if it got lost in the mail or it’s coming by Pony Express.”
  • The Steelersone-year extension for punter Jordan Berry is worth $1.887MM, per salary cap guru Ian Whetstone (Twitter links). Berry had been scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason, and his new contract will pay him roughly the same as an original round tender. RFA tenders must increase by at least 5% each year, and given that last year’s low tender was worth $1.797MM, Berry’s salary is now equal to the 2017 original round tender plus that 5%. As such, it’s possible the Steelers have added a mechanism to Berry’s contract that will increase his pay when the tender amount is officially announced by the NFL, per Whetstone. For what it’s worth, Over the Cap projects the 2018 original round tender to come in at $1.908MM.
  • Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake will not return to team in 2018, as he indicated in a statement released by Pittsburgh that he’ll move home to California as his son finishes high school. Lake is longtime Steelers fixture, as he earned multiple Pro Bowl nods and was named to one All-Pro team during his decade-long career in the Steel City. He was hired to serve as Pittsburgh’s secondary coach in 2011, and that role comprises the sum of his coaching experience. Lake is only 50 years old, so there’s a chance he returns to the coaching ranks down the road.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, McCarron, Steelers

It’s imperative that the Bengals gauge the A.J. McCarron market correctly this offseason, Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski of the Enquirer write. Unless the quarterback wins his grievance case, he’ll be a restricted free agent, meaning that the team can attach a second-round tender to him and likely collect on a valuable draft pick.

In theory, the Bengals could use the first-round tender ($4MM+), but that would place him in the upper tier of backup quarterbacks not on rookie contracts. Last year, only three such QBs earned more – Mike Glennon, Nick Foles, and Matt Schaub. Rival clubs would be willing to take on McCarron for that salary, but it’s hard to see a team also sacrificing a first-round pick in that scenario.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was officially released from the rehabilitation clinic two months after having spinal stabilization surgery, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) details. Shazier will now begin outpatient rehabilitation and still has a long road ahead of him, but it’s a very positive step forward for the 25-year-old.
  • It’s still not clear whether Dean Pees was forced out of his role as the Ravens‘ defensive coordinator, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun writes. Pees, 68, retired at the end of the 2017 season only to accept a job as the Titans’ defensive coordinator four weeks later. It’s possible that Pees painted himself into a corner by making his pending retirement known to members of the organization ahead of time, setting the table for Don “Wink” Martindale to take over as the new DC this year. Regardless of how it went down, Zrebiec argues that change can be a good thing. Pees isn’t necessarily responsible for all of the Ravens’ defensive woes, but the team did have a handful of late-game, late-season meltdowns under his watch.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) expects Eric DeCosta to reach out to Ray Rice to join the team in some capacity when he takes over as Ravens GM in 2019. DeCosta will take over as the Ravens’ GM in 2019 with current GM Ozzie Newsome moving to a consultant role.

Coaching Notes: Lions, Vikings, Colts, Titans

Dean Pees “retired” as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator earlier this year before joining the Titans in the same role on Monday, but Tennessee wasn’t the only club that expressed interest in the veteran coach over the past several weeks. The Lions, who are expected to formally hire Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia following the Super Bowl, also discussed a job offer with Pees, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Pees and Patricia have a working relationship, as they coached together in New England from 2004-09, so the connection makes sense. Detroit, which is expected to revamps its entire defensive staff once Patricia officially comes on board, is reportedly interested in hiring Boston College defensive line Paul Pasqualoni as its new defensive coordinator.

  • The Vikings are unlikely to announce their new offensive coordinator until after the Super Bowl, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell, Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski, Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell, and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan are the known candidates to have interviewed to replace Pat Shurmur, who recently became the Giants’ head coach. Ben McAdoo has also been linked to Minnesota’s search but hasn’t been interviewed, while the Vikings also reportedly had interest in Mike McCoy before he signed on with the Cardinals.
  • Although the Colts don’t officially have a head coach, they do have a new offensive line coach, as the club has agreed to terms with Dave DeGuglielmo to lead their front five, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. DeGuglielmo coached the Patriots’ offensive line (with mixed results) from 2014-15, so he has a familiarity with presumptive Indy head coach Josh McDaniels. Last season, DeGuglielmo was hired as a Dolphins assistant after OL coach Chris Foerster was fired after an inappropriate video was published. DeGuglielmo also has experience with the Jets, Giants, and Chargers.
  • In addition to poaching offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, the Titans have also hired assistant special teams coach Tyrone McKenzie away from the Rams, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). McKenzie, 32, will coach inside linebackers for Tennessee. Like new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, McKenzie is a former Patriots linebacker, although the two never overlapped in New England, as Vrabel was traded prior to 2009, the season McKenzie joined the club. McKenzie, also a former Buccaneer and Viking, has only one season of coaching experience.

Titans To Hire Dean Pees As Defensive Coordinator

Dean Pees‘ retirement didn’t last long. After calling it quits on January 1 following a six-year run in Baltimore, the veteran coach is set to join the Titans as the team’s defensive coordinator, Josh Wolf of The Tennessean writesDean Pees (Vertical)

New head coach Mike Vrabel has previously played under Pees when he served as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2004-09. Pees replaces Dick LeBeau, who served as defensive coordinator for the last three seasons.

In 2017, Pees’ Ravens recorded the most turnovers in the league but suffered several late-game collapses toward the end of the season that ultimately kept them out of the playoffs. Pees served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator from 2012-2017, and he earned a Super Bowl ring in that position in 2012.

Pees entered coaching in 1979, serving as the University of Findlay’s defensive coordinator. After stints at several colleges over the next two decades, Pees made the jump to the NFL when he joined the Patriots in 2004. After a long run in New England, he took over as defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Pees’ son Matt will join his father on the Tennessee coaching staff, where he’ll work as a quality control coach.

Before naming Pees defensive coordinator, Wolf reports the Titans offered the job to former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher. He instead took the same job with the Giants.

The Titans defense finished middle of the pack in 2017, while also allowing the eighth most passing yards. Pees’ opportunistic schemes could improve a unit that registered the 16th most turnovers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dean Pees To Join Titans’ Staff?

It may be a brief retirement for Dean Pees. The former Ravens and Patriots defensive coordinator announced his retirement on New Years Day, but according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, momentum continues to build for Pees to join the staff of new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel (Twitter link). Zrebiec cautions that nothing is close to being finalized and that discussions are ongoing.

Dean Pees (Vertical)

Pees could join Tennessee as defensive coordinator, or he could take another position on Vrabel’s defensive staff. The two men know each other well from their time in New England, as Pees was on the Patriots’ staff from 2004-09, and Vrabel was a starting linebacker for the Pats from 2001-08. Pees was Vrabel’s position coach for two seasons and then his defensive coordinator for three more years after that. If Zrebiec’s report is any indication, Vrabel and Pees developed a healthy respect for each other during that time.

Pees served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator from 2012-2017, and he earned a Super Bowl ring in that position in 2012. Although his defenses suffered several late-game collapses that doomed Baltimore’s playoff hopes in the past several seasons, his unit did generate the most turnovers in the league last year (though many of those turnovers came against offenses featuring second-string and/or rookie quarterbacks).

In total, the 68-year-old Pees has 10 years of NFL experience as a defensive coordinator, which could be useful for a rookie head coach like Vrabel, who is taking over a playoff team that will have high expectations heading into 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens DC Dean Pees Announces Retirement

On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was expect to retire. On Monday, Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley confirmed the news to reporters (Twitter link). Dean Pees (Vertical)

In 2010, Pees joined Baltimore as the team’s linebackers coach and was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2012. In his first year on the job, Pees helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory over the 49ers in linebacker Ray Lewis’ final season with the team. In 2017, Pees’ unit allowed the sixth-fewest points and generated a league-high 34 takeaways.

On Sunday, cornerback Brandon Carr commented on Pees’ possible retirement, saying, “His fingerprints are all across this defense. Just the years that he’s been here, you’ve seen the shutouts and big-game defenses that we’ve had from his play-calling. So without him, moving forward, if it happens that way, we’re going to miss him.”

The Ravens have typically hired from within, and Mosley voiced his support for Don Martindale, who has been with the Ravens since 2012 as inside linebackers and linebackers coach. Should they go outside the organization, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora mentions that Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin would be a name to watch, assuming he does not land a head-coaching gig (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dean Pees Expected To Retire

Ravens DC Dean Pees is expected to retire after the season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Pees, 68, has not yet told his players of his intentions.

Baltimore has an excellent chance of advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 today, and its defense is a big reason for that. The team ranks ninth in the league in yards allowed per game in 2017, fourth in points allowed per game, and it has generated a league-leading 33 turnovers. Nonetheless, the Ravens have largely feasted on rookie and/or second-string quarterbacks this season, and the team’s defense has struggled against more established signal-callers.

Schefter refers to Pees as one of the league’s top defensive minds whose units frequently feature exotic looks, but that would be news to Ravens fans. Pees’ defenses in Baltimore have been generally marked by conservative play-calling and late-game collapses, with some notable exceptions.

However, he has been a part of two of the league’s more successful franchises over the past 14 years. He broke into the NFL as the Patriots’ LB coach in 2004 before being promoted to New England’s DC in 2006. He left New England for Baltimore in 2010 and served as the Ravens’ LB coach in 2010-11. When Chuck Pagano left his job as Baltimore’s DC to accept a head coaching position with the Colts in 2012, Pees was elevated to defensive coordinator.

The Ravens won the Super Bowl that year, a game that featured a last-minute goal-line stand by their defense. In addition to that championship ring, Pees earned a ring with the Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXIX when Pees was their LB coach.

The Ravens have typically promoted from within when it comes to their defensive coordinators. Under head coach John Harbaugh, all four defensive coordinators that the team has employed — Rex Ryan, Greg Mattison, Pagano, and Pees — were previously position coaches on the team’s staff. Don Martindale, Baltimore’s current LB coach, would be the top in-house candidate to replace Pees, though the Ravens would surely be interested in reuniting with Pagano, who is expected to be fired by the Colts.