Let’s say this wasn’t the best 24 hours for the Baltimore Ravens.
On Sunday night, Baltimore inexplicably gave up a 49-yard touchdown to Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-12, which was the game-winning score in a game that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs. Then on Monday morning it was reported that one of the architects of their success this decade is retiring.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees, one of the most respected coordinators in the NFL, is retiring according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Pees, who spent most of the early part of his career in college and was the head coach at Kent State from 1998-2003, had a big hand in the success of two of the best franchises in the NFL this century. He was with the New England Patriots from 2004-09, and was defensive coordinator his final four seasons there. He joined the Ravens in 2010. He was linebackers coach for two seasons and defensive coordinator for six, including the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl championship season.
There was a report Sunday that Pees was considering retirement, and after the game the players showed their respect for the work he has done.
“All I can say is I appreciate him,” defensive tackle Brandon Williams told the Baltimore Sun. “He’s the best defensive coordinator I’ve ever been around.”
“His fingerprints are all across this defense,” cornerback Brandon Carr told the Sun. “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. But at the same time, it’s going to be time for the next person to step up, that next signal caller for the Ravens defense to go out here and call some plays for us.”
The Ravens had an aggressive defense that was a huge reason the team was in playoff contention right until the end of the regular season. Through the years the Ravens have been known as a strong defensive team. That reputation preceded Pees, but he did a great job keeping the tradition going through his excellent play-calling.
The Ravens didn’t expect their offseason to begin so suddenly, and now they have a big task of replacing a coordinator who helped shape their success.
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