Matt Pees

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.

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.