Dean Pees has watched games from the crow's nest the last few years.
Since midway through the 2012 season, the Ravens defensive coordinator has been in the coach's booth on gameday, giving him an aerial view to make calls, but limited interaction with his players.
The Ravens decided to make a change this year by moving Pees to the sidelines, and he liked his new view in Sunday's win over the Bills.
"I think sometimes being able to be down there and actually looking them in the eye and just talking to them [is crucial]," Pees said. "You can just tell by looking at someone's body language and looking them in the eye how to call the game based on how we're playing and how they react."
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said after the 13-7 win over Buffalo that "Dean Pees called a hell of a game."
The defense had an impressive performance, holding the Bills to 160 yards and no first downs in the fourth quarter. The unit didn't allow any big plays and several players pointed to the communication as a reason for the success.
"The communication I really liked the best was the communication on the sideline," Pees said. "It was a little different sometimes when I was in the press box, but I really had a good feel when the guys came off the field of some things that were going on out on the field that helped me quite a bit."
Deciding which coaches stay on the sidelines and who goes to the booth is based on the chain of communication from the coaching staff to the players on the field. The Ravens liked the perspective that Pees had in the booth the last few years, but new Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier now has the bird's eye view.
Frazier can relay his observations to Pees, who has the benefit of talking directly with players on the bench. Pees can also lean on some of his veteran players like Suggs and safety Eric Weddle to get a sense for what's happening on the field.
"I also really felt good with Eric on the sideline, because he and I would talk about certain things at times. You have a guy that is just really in tune to it – almost like a coach on the field," Pees said. "Again, I just felt that way with the whole defense on Sunday. On the sideline when we wanted to make a little bit of an adjustment to something, we were able to go out there and just do it and not have to go out and rep it, and rep it and rep it.
"I could just show them on the board or talk to them about it, and they did it. That's a great feeling as a coach."