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.