The Baltimore Ravens missed out on the playoffs. Now John Harbaugh must replace his defensive coordinator.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that longtime DC Dean Pees is informing the team he's going to retire, effective March 1.
The 68-year-old joined Harbaugh's staff in 2010 as a linebackers coach before being elevated to coordinator in 2012. Pees previously spent four seasons as the New England Patriots' DC (2006-2009) after getting his first pro gig with the club as a linebackers coach in 2004.
Pees was known as one of the best defensive schemers in the NFL, consistently befuddling quarterbacks and putting his playmakers is a position to disrupt offenses. During his stint leading the Patriots' defense, New England was the only NFL team to finish in the top 10 in scoring defense in four consecutive seasons. Pees helped guide the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
"His fingerprints are all across this defense," corner Bandon Carr said Sunday of Pees' potential retirement, via the Baltimore 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."
Added defensive tackle Brandon Williams: "All I can say is I appreciate him. He's the best defensive coordinator I've ever been around. From his resume alone, he's a top defensive coordinator. If he's not here, hopefully God is with him, and he has a great life and is prosperous in what he does. Hopefully though, he's back. He's a guru."
Said C.J. Mosley: "I love him. He's had a long career, way before I was born. I love him as a man. Obviously, it's something out of our control, but he's got my full support no matter what he does."
Pees' 2017 unit finished sixth in points allowed per game (18.9) and were in the top 10 in passing yards allowed per game (213.8).
Rapoport reported that Ravens linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale would get a long look to replace Pees. Baltimore held onto Martindale despite overtures from other teams in the past. Martindale has one year of DC experience with the Denver Broncos (2010).