New Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees is getting to know his new players, and during the first week of the team’s offseason program, his players are getting to know him. So far, he’s liked what he’s seen – and heard.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — New Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees is getting to know his new players, and during the first week of the team’s offseason program, his players are getting to know him.
So far, he’s liked what he’s seen — and heard.
“I’ll tell you what, we have a good defense,” Pees said in an interview with “The Wake Up Zone” on 104.5-FM. “I thought they were a good defense last year. I thought they played really hard, played well. I really like their attitude. They’re hungry – I can tell that.
“There has been kind of a buzz around the building you can feel, and I just really like their attitude coming into the building open-minded, listening to what is going on. We are the same way as coaches. We are also open-minded and listen to things they may have, and input, and things they may say. I think it is just a great group.”A 45-year coaching veteran, Pees is on his third NFL stop with the Titans, after previous stops in New England and Baltimore. Pees has spent 14 years in the NFL, including eight seasons (2010-17) with the Ravens, including the previous six years (2012-17) as the defensive coordinator. He initially joined Ravens in 2010, as the linebackers coach.
Before joining the Ravens, Pees spent six seasons (2004-09) with the Patriots. He originally joined the Patriots as linebackers coach, and spent his final four years as the defensive coordinator. It’s where he coached Titans coach Mike Vrabel.
Pees is currently learning the characteristics of his players, including their strengths and weaknesses. During Wednesday’s morning’s interview on 104.5-FM, he said he wanted his players to come in with a clean slate. He talked about his respect for former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Pees said the defensive playbook is complete, but there’s room for adjustments. He said he wants to put players in a position to be successful.
“There are three characteristics we look for in all of them, and everybody that is going to be on our defense,” Pees said. “No. 1, we want them to be tough. It is physical and mental. No. 2, we want them to be smart. They have to understand our scheme and you can’t go out and make mistakes. … They have to know exactly what is going on. And No.3 is just giving effort. Everybody here has ability, or they wouldn’t be here. So none of those three things take any ability. What they take is an attitude of just being tough, being smart and giving great effort.”
Pees has enjoyed great success as a defensive coordinator. In six of his 10 years as defensive coordinator with the Ravens and Patriots, his units finished in the NFL’s top 10.Under Pees in 2017, the Ravens had a league-best three shutouts and 33 takeaways. The Ravens also ranked sixth in points allowed per game (18.9). The 2012 Ravens team won Super Bowl XLVII and Pees became just the eighth defensive coordinator in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl with two different teams. Three (2014,’15,’16) of his six years as defensive coordinator for the Ravens resulted in top 10 rankings for the defense.
In three of his four years (2007,’08,’09) as the defensive coordinator, the Patriots ranked in the top 11 in total defense. Over the four-year period, New England ranked second in the NFL in points allowed (17.3/game).
The Titans are scheduled to have a minicamp later this month, when the offseason program kicks into another gear.
In the coming months, the Titans will have OTAs, and then wrap up offseason work with another minicamp in June. Training camp will begin in late July, when fans will get their first look at a new-look Titans defense.
But what will it look like?
“Somebody asked me the other day: Are you 3-4 or 4-3? And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what we are,’” Pees said on ‘The Wake Up Zone,” laughing. “Hopefully you are going to see it all. I want offenses to worry about what we are. They should worry more about our personnel than they should worry about our scheme. And we are going to try and put guys in a lot of different spots. So you are going to see a lot of different things. I don’t know what you are going to call us at the end of the season. I just hope you call us winners.”