Dean Pees has two retirements under his belt since the end of the 2017 season, but the veteran defensive coordinator might be on the verge of yet again returning to work.
The former Titans, Ravens and Patriots DC has emerged on the Falcons’ radar, with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora noting Arthur Smith‘s first Atlanta staff is expected to include Pees in some capacity. Pees was Tennessee’s DC from 2018-19, overlapping with Smith’s lengthy run with the Titans. The two were coordinators together last season.
Pees, 70, retired from his post as Ravens DC — one he held from 2012-17 — three years ago but quickly backtracked on a pledge to step away by accepting an offer to become the Titans DC. But he left the game again following the ’19 season, preceding a significant step back from Tennessee’s defense. The Falcons may well be set to lure Pees back again. This would mark a fourth team and 17th NFL season for Pees, a longtime college coach who began his NFL career with the Patriots in 2004.
For the first time since their Bobby Petrino hire, the Falcons have the HC keys to an offense-oriented leader. This leaves a void on Atlanta’s defensive staff. While Pees may not be summoned to return to a coordinator post, the Falcons could certainly benefit from having him on their staff. Atlanta’s Dan Quinn hire did not coincide with consistent defensive success. They ranked as a top-half defense just twice in Quinn’s five-plus-year tenure and slipped to 29th in total defense this season.