Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees is expected to retire after the 2017 campaign ends. This was first reported as a rumor by Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report a few weeks ago. Late last night, ESPN’s NFL Insider, Adam Schefter, confirmed this report. Dean Pees joined the Baltimore Ravens in 2010 as a linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012. During his tenure as defensive coordinator, Pees has found both success and failure. Pees was instrumental in the 2012 playoff and Super Bowl run and has coached top ranking defenses. Despite this, Pees has come under fire for his coaching style. Many fans criticized his inability to make adjustments, and the perceived overuse of prevent defense. Pees’ legacy in Baltimore is complicated, as many are glad he is preparing to depart the team. In reality, however, Pees was a solid defensive coach, that kept Baltimore’s defense relevant.
Now, with Pees on his way out, the Ravens will have to find a capable replacement. Pees was an inside hire by the Ravens the last time the organization needed to fill the role. The clear in-house front-runner is linebackers coach, Don “Wink” Martindale. Martindale has been the linebacker’s coach in Baltimore since 2012 and has done a fine job at the position. He has coached legends like Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs, while also developing new talent. Under Martindale, the Ravens saw the emergence of C.J. Mosley, Zachary Orr, Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor, Matthew Judon, and Za’Darius Smith. The linebackers group is crucial to Baltimore’s defensive success, and hiring Martindale would ensure it continues.
Martindale will have to compete with flashy outside candidates. Rumors in NFL circles are suggesting that Chuck Pagano of the Colts, Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, and John Fox of the Bears, will all be fired. Chuck Pagano and Marvin Lewis both previously filled the role of Ravens defensive coordinator. John Fox is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013. Another familiar face that could be in contention for the job is another former Ravens defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan. Ryan’s most recent coaching stint was with the Bills. Since being fired after the 2016 season, Ryan has spent most of his time on ESPN as an analyst. The Ravens also could make a move that no one expects, by hiring a college coach as the new defensive coordinator. Perhaps we could see someone like Greg Schiano of Ohio State make his return to NFL football.