The Tennessee Titans certainly missed Dean Pees in 2020. The veteran defensive coordinator retired following the 2019 season, leaving a void on the coaching staff that wasn’t ever exactly filled. Mike Vrabel elevated outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, but didn’t officially give him the coordinator title.
Today, Pees is back — just not with the Titans. He’s joining the Atlanta Falcons as a part of former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s staff.
The #Falcons staff is taking shape. Under coach Arthur Smith, Atlanta is expected to hire veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees out of retirement, sources say, and they are working toward hiring Dave Ragone of the #Bears as their new offensive coordinator.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 21, 2021
The Titans ranked 21st in yards allowed during the 2019 season, but fell off to 28th without Pees in 2020. Injuries and a change in roster certainly affected that number this season, but it will be interesting to see if Vrabel opts to name a true defensive coordinator for the 2021 season.
For Pees, it’s his second time coming out of retirement. Vrabel was able to talk him into coming back when he took the job back in 2018. Now 71, Pees is reportedly headed for his fourth stint as an NFL defensive coordinator. Getting a proven veteran voice to run the defense is a big deal for Smith as the 38 year old first time head coach tries to kickstart the rebuild in Atlanta.
Update: And then there’s this from Glennon.
My understanding is that #Titans' Vrabel did reach out to Pees to see if he wanted to come out of retirement and return to the team.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) January 21, 2021
-Pees made the choice to go to Atlanta. May well be bringing his son Matt, a former Titans quality control assistant, with him.