The Baltimore Ravens have given no indication thus far that they will be letting Dean Pees go. While coach contracts are not disclosed and we have no idea if his contract is even up at this time, the team has never had much issue in handing guys their pink slips in the past. However, with fan outrage at a maximum over the job that Pees has done this season, the organization will be facing peer pressure to do something one way or another soon.
Even while I know this article will immediately be pegged as "dumb," I'm going to write it anyway to hopefully settle down the masses and bring things back down to reality. Dean Pees isn't that bad...
He's not great and I think there is a distinction in saying that. There are better defensive coordinators out there, potentially even a few available for hire in a few hours. But that old addage about "better the devil you know" is as true here as anywhere. The Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh know what they have in Pees and the system that he likes to run. The players are familiar with it and comfortable with it too. To change that would be taking the 2016 season and turning it into a classroom, one that likely wouldn't improve on 2015 until at the end of the year at the best of circumstances.
It's worth noting that the Baltimore Ravens end the 2015 season in the 8th spot defensively, allowing only 337.4 yards per game. Granted, they do allow the 24th most points per game with 25.1, but how much of that comes from the offense?
The Ravens have thrown 4 pick-sixes this season, two from Matt Schaub, one from Jimmy Clausen and another from Joe Flacco. The 4 picks taken to the house count as an immediate 28 points against the defense, something they can't control. Taking away those points immediately puts the Ravens at 373 total points allowed, and 16th place in the league. Now, this isn't counting the 17 other interceptions and 9 fumbles as well, with some of them putting the defense in a short field and giving up at least a field goal regardless of how well the defense could hold. If we even assume that 1/3 of those were in field goal range, it gives opposing offenses an automatic 27 more points. Take away those 27 points and you have a team that only allowed 346 points, pushing them into 15th place.
Now of course, that is a perfect world, which doesn't happen in the NFL but it at least puts things into perspective. 15th in points allowed and 8th in points isn't too shabby and typically isn't worth firing unless it is another in a string of obvious failures. Given that the Ravens had injuries in the secondary and to pass rusher Terrell Suggs, some of that can be forgiven this year if Pees was a regular failure, but he isn't.
2014 saw a ridiculous number of injuries. Yet the defense was able to secure a 6th place ranking with only 302 points allowed. This was without cornerback Jimmy Smith, just about every replacement corner the Ravens brought in, and a host of young rotational players the Ravens would have loved to have.
2013 had Dean Pees in his second year and the defense held offenses to 352 points, good enough for a 12th place ranking. Dean Pees was hired in 2012, the year the Ravens brought home their second ring on the backs of a 2nd place ranking in points allowed per game in the postseason, facing a murder's row of offenses like the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts.
Pees hasn't been perfect by any stretch, but those rankings alone should tell a story that doesn't sounds nearly as bad as you've had in your head so far. Oh, but what about the development of players I hear you screaming at your screen right now while beginning to froth at the mouth and slam your keyboard in retaliation.
The players you are undoubtedly thinking of are safeties Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks.
Brooks was drafted in 2014 and has now had 2 seasons under his belt, except that injuries derailed what was turning into a good rookie season. Matt Elam was drafted in 2013 and entered the season on injured reserve. His rookie year had him playing the wrong position due to injuries, essentially making 2014 his rookie year in the end. Taking injuries into account for both players, they have a combined 3 and a half seasons of play time and one of those is out of position due to injuries forcing him there. I doubt anyone could judge any player within realistically 2.5 seasons.
Looking at the other defensive players drafted since 2012, the Ravens have 1 Pro Bowl and a bunch of potential in rotational players. Brent Urban, Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Williams, and even rookie Za'Darius Smith have panned out quite nicely rather quickly. I don't think I would count any of them as not developing. With any team in the NFL, there will be a few duds, the Arthur Browns of the group that just can't get on the field when they really should based on the draft spot they were taken in. Some of that could be on Pees, but I think we all know a majority of that is on the players in question instead.
Pees might not be perfect, but he isn't nearly as bad as you'd think. When you consider that any other defensive coordinator would come in as an unknown, I'll take healthy players and Dean Pees instead.