Dean Pees And The Baltimore Ravens: A Perfect Fit?

With the Baltimore Ravens switching defensive coordinators for the fourth time in as many years, there are some questions about how the newest defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, will handle the defense. Will he be an aggressive play-caller? Will he bring exotic blitzes to the defense? Is he going to bring a sense of "swagger" to the defense again? The simple answer to all of these questions is no.

So that begs the question, what exactly does Dean Pees bring to the table?

Using the four seasons that Dean Pees was the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots (2006-2009), I will attempt to analyze how exactly Dean Pees influences his defense.

New England originally hired Dean Pees as a Linebackers Coach before the 2004 season after an unimpressive six-year career with Kent State. Prior to the 2006 season, the New England Patriots promoted Dean Pees to Defensive Coordinator to replace Eric Mangini.

2006 Total Defense Rankings
Total Yards Allowed Yards Per Game Total Passing Yards Passing Yards Per Game Total Rushing Yards Rushing Yards Per Game Points Points Per Game
Value 4710 294.4 3203 200.2 1507 94.2 237 14.8
Ranking 6th 6th 12th 12th 5th 5th 2nd 2nd

Needless to say, Dean Pees did not disappoint. After one year as the defensive coordinator he managed to finish with a top-10 defense that even finished top-5 in some categories. Although many of the skeptics argued that one season is not enough to gauge the effectiveness of a coach. So they looked ahead to the 2007 season and asked "How will New England's defense fare next year?".

2007 Total Defense Rankings
Total Yards Allowed Yards Per Game Total Passing Yards Passing Yards Per Game Total Rushing Yards Rushing Yards Per Game Points Points Per Game
Value 4613 288.3 3041 190.1 1572 98.3 274 17.1
Ranking 4th 4th 6th 6th 10th 10th 4th 4th


The answer to that previous question is; "just fine". In 2007 the New England Patriots ended up achieving a perfect regular season record of 16-0. And while many people look at that season as a representation of New England's offensive ability (or the representation of Tom Brady's ability in the eyes of the media), there is not a chance that team would have gone 16-0 if not for the outstanding play of Dean Pees' elite defense. But of course, following any perfect season, there is always bound to be a drop-off the following season (in pro-sports anyways).

2008 Total Defense Rankings
Total Yards Allowed Yards Per Game Total Passing Yards Passing Yards Per Game Total Rushing Yards Rushing Yards Per Game Points Points Per Game
Value 4944 309 3222 201.3 1722 107.6 309 19.3
Ranking 10th 10th 11th 11th 15th 15th 8th 8th

Prior to the 2008 season, the New England Patriots lost some key defensive players including Asante Samuel, Randal Gay, Eugene Wilson, and Rashad Moore. Combining the inevitable decline of performance following a perfect season with these losses, New England's defense was set up to see a drop-off. Despite these roadblocks, Dean Pees' defense still managed to rank top-10 in a few categories; a noble feat.

2009 Total Defense Rankings
Total Yards Allowed Yards Per Game Total Passing Yards Passing Yards Per Game Total Rushing Yards Rushing Yards Per Game Points Points Per Game
Value 5123 320.2 3355 209.7 1768 110.8 285 17.8
Ranking 11th 11th 12th 12th 13th 13th 5th 5th

2009 proved to be a bit disappointing for New England's defense as they just managed to fall short of the top-10 overall defenses. However, despite their lower rankings, New England's defense was still respectable. This season proved to be Dean Pees' last with New England.

So back to the original question; "What does Dean Pees bring to the table?".

Dean Pees isn't your smash-mouth, trash-talking, unnecessarily-over-aggressive defensive coordinator like the Ravens are used to having (nor does he need to be). What he is, however, is a good overall coach with tons of experience, who consistently finishes the season with a defense ranking anywhere from good to elite. And with a defense with the amount of talent and potential, such as the Ravens, I think we will be seeing more of the elite side of the scale.

*Interesting note: during Dean Pees' stint with the New England Patriots, his defense never averaged more than 20 points a game. In 2011 the Baltimore Ravens scored an average of 23.8 points a game.

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