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Ravens Defensive Coordinator Press Conference Transcripts


John Harbaugh opening statement: "Good to see you guys. Welcome, everybody. Thanks for coming out. It's amazing in the National Football League [how] success breeds opportunity, and Chuck Pagano has an opportunity to go be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. That's bittersweet in some ways, because we care about Chuck and he's done such a great job, but we're proud of the opportunity he has. We all take a little pride in that – all of our coaches and all of our players. 'Double-J' [Jarret Johnson] is here and all the coaches are here, and we take pride in that. At the same time, it's an opportunity to move forward. And, we have great coaches. We're going to announce Dean Pees as our defensive coordinator here going forward. Mel [Dean's wife] is here; there's Mel right down there. We just couldn't be more excited to [make this announcement]. Dean has been here for two years now. When you get a chance to talk to Jarret or any of our players, they'll tell you what a great football coach this man is – what a good person he is, too. We go back a long way. If Dean can make me any kind of a player, that'll tell you how good of a coach he really is. (laughter) I've always respected his work and always respected the kind of person he is. In the NFL, he's worked in college, all the way through the ranks he's been considered one of the top coaches around. I think the record speaks for itself. The tradition of this defense will continue, it will flourish and it will even get better. It'll be in Coach Pees' hands. So, Dean, congratulations."

Dean Pees opening statement: "Thank you, John. Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to thank Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome, and of course, most of all, John, for giving me this opportunity. It's an incredible opportunity to be a defensive coordinator for anybody in this league or at any level, but, it's especially humbling to be one for the Baltimore Ravens. There has been a strong tradition here throughout the years, and especially right now. I can't say enough about our defensive room and what it's like to be even a part of that. I'm grateful for having the opportunity to come here even two years ago. So, along with that, I'd like to thank Greg Mattison and Chuck Pagano for giving me an opportunity as a linebackers coach on defense. Greg was very instrumental in me coming here to begin with. And of course, having known John since 1983, we've stayed in touch over the years and it was just a tremendous opportunity for me. Most of all, besides my wife in here, the guys I feel the closest to and most for is this defensive staff sitting here in the back room – Ted Monachino, Clarence Brooks, Roy Anderson, Teryl Austin, Matt Weiss. One of the things that has gone on here the past two years I've been here … The reason we're successful on Sundays is because of the amount of work that's put in Monday through Saturday. In no short way is it ever one person who puts in all that work. It's one thing to call a game – you get a little credit as a defensive coordinator in calling a game, and certainly that very important – but it's really [about] the work that is put in before that game ever goes on the field that's really what's done. And, these guys back here have been around a long time. This will be my 40th season coming up in coaching. I've been around a lot of staffs and a lot of people, and there's nobody that does it better than this group right here. And, I'm so proud to be a part of that. I know we'll work together like we've always worked together. It's a great defensive staff room, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm really excited about it. I consider these guys not only colleagues, but good friends – guys that work really hard to be successful. Most of all, I'm really excited about these players. We have a great group. It is a unique group – one of the most unique groups I've ever been around. They've got their own style and their own personality, and it is what it is, and I'm not going to change it. I have my own personality. I'm not going to be the same as Chuck Pagano or Greg Mattison or anybody before. I will be who I am, but I don't in any way want to change that room whatsoever or the dynamics of that room. I'm looking forward to it, I'm excited about it, and I'm very humbled by being a Raven. I very much look forward to it."

John, do you have any announcement regarding Cam Cameron being the offensive coordinator? (Aaron Wilson)"An announcement is not necessary. Cam has been our offensive coordinator and will continue to be our offensive coordinator. We have a great staff – top to bottom, all the way across the board and throughout. Like what Dean is saying about the defense, I totally agree with. We have a great coaching staff on our offense as well. It's Cam, 'Hoss' [Jim Hostler], Wilbert [Montgomery], Andy Moeller, Todd Washington, Craig Ver Steeg, Wade Harman. It's just a first-class group of coaches. Our coaches did a tremendous job this year, and we want to improve in every way we can – whether it's scheme or things we can do to help our players be better. So, Cam will continue on, Dean will be our defensive coordinator, and Jerry [Rosburg] will continue with special teams."

Are you surprised with all the questions regarding Cam coming back? It seems like a foregone conclusion to you. Is it multi-years he's coming back or just a one-year deal? (Jerry Coleman)"I didn't read any of those questions, so I guess I wasn't surprised or not by it. It was a foregone conclusion to me. If you watched the way our offense played this year and the job that our players did on offense and the coaches did, I was excited about it. It was a good year. We turned a lot of things over on offense. We had young receivers out there for the first time, we had new tight ends out there for the first time, and the left side of our offensive line was new for most of the season. I thought our players and coaches did a great job. They fought like crazy, got the job done and won 13 games. That's the bottom line. I'm proud of all our guys. As far as contracts go, that stuff gets worked out as we go between the organization and the coach, and we'll see how that goes."

John, a lot has been made over the years about the personality of your defense and the personality of your defensive coordinators. You've had different guys. You've had Rex [Ryan], you've had Greg Mattison, kind of the grandfather, you've had Chuck Pagano. How would you describe Dean and his personality? (Peter Schmuck)"Not in the way that you described all those guys, personally. (laughter) Where's Greg? I hope he's not listening. All those guys have their own personality and their own style. You can even ask Jarret – all those guys are fiery in their own way, right? And all those guys are unbelievable competitors in their own way and bring their own style to it. The Ravens' defense – and again, I bring up Jarret because he's sitting right there – we've had these conversations. The Ravens' defense has been the Ravens' defense for a long time. There's a personality that runs through that, even before guys like Jarret got here. It goes way back, and I think that's something we all take pride in continuing that tradition. The format, the people, who is involved in that – that changes. Every defense from every year, even from game to game, you've got to step up there and do it again and put your own stamp on it. That's a challenge. For the last four years here, they've all done it incredibly well. We've been third, third, third and third in scoring defense. But, our goal is to be first. That's the next step for us. We want to be the best in the league in everything we do, and to me, Dean Pees, along with the rest of our coaching staff … And that's the emphasis here; it's never a one-man operation, right, coach? Dean will be our leader on that side, but we've got leaders at every position and leaders in the room – the guys who go out there and play – and our goal will to be the best defense in the league. You're going to see a fiery Dean Pees, and you're going to see an aggressive defense like we've seen in the past, and we'll be getting after people. That's the plan. That's not going to change. We're going to build on that."

This one's for John and also one for Dean. John, what was it like playing for him and just how much have you kind of seen since that time and now working with him? And for Dean, we hear a lot about what you do, in terms of scouting tendencies and having that recall in terms of always knowing what the opponent is going to do most of the time. We hear a lot that you're very strict on film study, that aspect of your job. (Aaron Wilson)(HARBAUGH) "Just as far as playing for Dean, any player that's been with coach Pees will tell you that he's the kind of coach that makes you feel good about who you are as a football player. He instills confidence, makes you feel smart, makes you feel tough, makes you feel like you can do it. And then he teaches you how to do it and makes it very accessible to the player. You come in with some complex concept, and the way Dean describes it, it's like, 'Oh, I get that. I can do that.' To me, that's one of the greatest strengths of any kind of a teacher, and I think Dean is a great teacher."

(PEES) "I appreciate that. On your second question, really as far as the tendencies and things like that, I think we all do a great job – the whole staff does. I think everything that you do in football, basically in defensive football, you learn because you probably screwed it up at some point in time. So you learn the hard way. You kind of do that as a player, too. You do it wrong, and then you figure out how you can do it right or how you can do it better. I think the more years you put in over and over … I mean, I've got a lot of experience as far as watching a lot of film and watching other teams. You're always trying to make yourself better studying other teams. I think when you study film as much as we all do, pretty soon you start seeing tendencies. I think then it's a matter of the information that you want to be able to give players needs to be pertinent to what they're doing. Just to spew out a bunch of stats to them or give them a bunch of things that don't hold true all the time, really, players don't want to hear that. 'What can I lock in on? Give me a couple things I can lock in on, and that's going to help me. If you're going to give me 100 things, I can't remember all those things.' So they're always trying to find, on any offense – just as all the offenses are trying to find it on the defense – something that is really a telltale that can help the players. Hopefully, I have been able to do that. I hope so. The players can tell you better than I can tell you whether it's been successful on the information I give them, but I think we're all that way. We just study film so much, and the more you do it, hopefully the better you get at it."

*John, did you look around the league much at all? Did you already kind of have the plan that you know with this staff you had the man right there, ready to come in, if Chuck Pagano were to go? (Pete Gilbert)
(HARBAUGH)* "No, I didn't look around the league at all. I looked no further than this staff and wouldn't stop with coach Pees. Any one of the guys on our defensive staff is capable of coordinating in this league. That's without question. Right now it's the perfect fit, and we'll move forward as a team and as a group of guys and do a great job coaching these guys."

*Is there anything to the speculation that you might bring a quarterback coach back in? *(Peter Schmuck)
"Just along those lines, I think we'll see where all that goes down the road. It's a possibility. What we'll try and do here with our staff is – like we do with everything, whether it's scheme, whether it's players and the draft and all those kind of things – and that's do the best we can to become as good as we can be with next year's team. We've got a pretty good track record of doing that every single year. The way that it worked out last year on offense, to me, was tremendously successful – the way we decided to go, with putting Cam in there along with coach [Craig] Ver Steeg and Joe [Flacco] in the quarterback meeting room as the coordinator, was the right move at the right time. The quarterback and the offensive coordinator need to really be of one mind – both relationally and football-wise. Those guys being in the room together to me was a smashing success. That really helped Joe grow on this offense, and it was a direct communication every single day, all day long with the offensive coordinator – the play-caller and the guy who was building the offensive system. So, I'm really happy with the way it went. Whether that will be the best thing to do next year, I think we're talking about that right now. We'll figure that out. Joe will have a tremendous amount of input in that, along with Cam, obviously, and we'll just figure out what we want to do. So, all options are open, and it'll be whatever we think is the best thing."

*John, who's going to replace Pees as the linebackers coach? *(Jerry Coleman)
"To be determined. We'll see. We're in the process of figuring that out."

*How about kicking consultant, Randy Brown's status and what went on, on the sideline? We haven't had a chance to talk about that? Can you explain? *(Jerry Coleman)
"Well, I was a little stunned by it when I saw what a big deal it was, for one thing. They were unfortunate comments for sure. I've known Randy for a long time. Randy is a very good person. If you listen to the interview, you get a very clear indication that it was in jest. He's known those guys for a long time. He's a Philly guy, he's been on that radio station a bunch, and they were going back and forth, and there was a lot of laughing going on. It wasn't meant in a serious way, but it doesn't come out that way in print. Randy should understand that, and he feels really bad about it right now. So, we in no way at all think that, and we've said that already. I just think it was unfortunate."

*We haven't had a chance to talk to you since we kind of heard what happened with Billy Cundiff on the sidelines. The scoreboard said third down, and there was an article that said it was always behind. Can you kind of clarify when you found out? I assume, at the time, you had no idea that that's why he was running late. Can you just shed some light? So many people want to know what happened. *(Steve Davis)
"To me, running late … They were on the field with 17 seconds. I think it didn't look rushed to me. I felt like we were in good shape with that. The timing of it wasn't even on my mind. I never looked at the scoreboard, personally. I never do. The scoreboard is not what we use to calculate where we're at down-and-distance-wise. We knew where we were at. Cam called the plays accordingly, and we called the field goal team on the field, and the field goal team headed out. Sometimes the kicker is in back, he's on his own, he's at the net, and they get themselves in that place to kick a field goal. He might be looking at the scoreboard, but he's also in communication with Randy [Brown]. Those guys knew, or should have known, what the down and distance was. To me, it doesn't affect the 32-yard field goal, and that's what Billy said. He's got to make that kick, no matter what. So no matter what happened with that, yeah the scoreboard was behind, but it didn't affect us in any way, what we were doing. That kick should get made and all those other things."

*[Cundiff] seemed to indicate that it affected him. I'm not asking for excuses, just an understanding of … He seemed to indicate in that article that interviewed him that he just thought it was third down, so he was in the wrong spot. Where he normally would be when he went through his whole protocol of, "First down, I'm doing this, second down I'm doing this," it seemed like he was a down behind and that's why he was running behind. *(Steve Davis)
"He was being honest to what he was thinking or what was going through his mind. That's Billy, that's who he is; he's going to tell you the truth. He also said, 'I'll make that kick.' He'll make that kick 99 out of 100 times. Billy Cundiff is one heck of a kicker. He's an honest guy. He's a smart guy. He wants to do well. It was a tough situation; it was a tough moment. It doesn't lessen who he is in my mind in any way, or what he's done. We just move forward and be the best team we can be next year. And, he'll be the best kicker he can be."

*Coach Pees, you're now looking at the defense from a slightly different perspective. What do you consider, over the next few months, your biggest challenge? (Bruce Raffel)
(PEES)* "I think the biggest challenge right now is just putting a staff … John and I have talked a little bit about it today, and how everything is going to be arranged on the defensive staff. I think that first priority is how we're going to structure the staff, and then second of all is going back and taking a real hard look at us, as we'll do as a coaching staff, looking at things that we can do better –how to tweak a defense, how to do something a little different, maybe in a coverage. How can we improve in this area? What are the strong points? What are the weak points? How can we improve the weak points and keep the strong points strong? I think in the next few months, that's always our biggest challenge, is to go back and recalculate what we did wrong – and it wasn't a lot – but make it better. Or the other thing is, if there's some different direction we can take a particular coverage or a particular blitz, can they do something a little different? Just all those sorts of things. It's really self-scout and really going back and taking a hard look at us."

*Is there anything specific that you learned in New England that can translate here? *(Jeff Zrebiec)
"Win. We won there and we're winning here, and I think every place I've been I feel like I've had an opportunity to work with some unbelievable people. I was the defensive coordinator for Nick Saban for four years. I learned an awful lot from him, from coach [Lou] Holtz. I've had some great bosses – John [Harbaugh]. You learn something from everybody. You learn something from every assistant that you work with, every coordinator that you've worked with. So, it's not just New England, it's everybody. It's a culmination of a lot of years, being with a lot of people, seeing a lot of different things and a lot of different schemes. And there's no one scheme that's great. If that was the case, everybody would be playing that scheme. It's what fits your personality, what fits your personnel most of all, and then how can we do the best there. So, I don't say – and I'm not slighting New England – I think it's a culmination of just a lot of places that I've been fortunate enough to be on – a lot of great places, and hopefully, [I] learned from a lot of great bosses."

*Dean, did you have a certain scheme that you ran in New England, and how does it compare to the one that's here? *(Steve Davis)
"Very similar, and that's one of the things that was a nice transition. There [are] a lot of things that we do here that we did up there and there's … They're very similar. They're not the same – I like our package better – but there [are] a lot of similarities. So, it was a real easy transition coming here from New England. And a lot of us all come from similar backgrounds. And I felt like … What we did up there, there were some things here that we brought that Greg [Mattison] and Chuck [Pagano] implemented, and there were an awful lot of things that I wished I had had that we do here that I wished I had had up there. So, I think it's been a good marriage of ideas."

Will you call the game from the sidelines? (Steve Davis)(PEES) "Yes."

*You could have gone back to New England; you weren't fired. Can you talk about your decision to come here in the first place? *(Aaron Wilson)(PEES) "That was exactly what I said in the paper was exactly what happened. I decided not to go back there. My contract was up. I didn't renew my contract. I was not fired, and I decided to explore other avenues. And this was a great avenue to explore."

*Can you talk about your relationship with Ray Lewis and the effect you think he has as another coach on the field? *(Bruce Raffel)(PEES) "Well, hopefully from his standpoint, he would tell you that we have a great relationship. The thing is, is that I hope I have that relationship with all of our players and all of the defensive players – not just only Ray. I hope I've earned their respect; they've certainly earned mine. But since you asked about Ray, you know, this guy is … I know everybody talks about what a phenomenal player he is, and he's a Hall of Famer and he's all of those things, but the guys like Ray and [Jarret Johnson] and [Terrell] Suggs and all of them, Haloti [Ngata], I could go right down the list … These guys are not great players by chance. You walk into our room … Normally you teach all your rookies [to] take a notepad out, write stuff down, and I want to see you taking notes and I want you to learn and know what's going on. If you'd walk into our room, you'd think that those guys were the rookies. There [are] a lot of veterans that would sit back and say, 'You know, I've got a pretty good handle on all of this kind of stuff. I can do it.' That's why these guys are the great pros that they are. You walk into our room, and they're taking notes, they're studying film. They look and act like this is the first time they've heard it, and it's not. That's why they are who they are. That's why they have my utmost respect, is because of the way they approach the game and the way they approach their profession. And yeah, that's Ray, but that permeates through that entire room of all those veterans. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of that."

*Coach Pees, I know in talking to your players before, they've often talked about how you like to teach them multiple positions and to be very versatile. How important do you think that is in your defense? *(Ryan Mink)(PEES) "Well, I think it's not only important for me, I think it's important for them. The first thing I've always told the linebackers is, I said, 'What makes no sense to me as a coach, and never has, is that I've got a good player and he's standing on the sideline beside me while another player I don't think is as good as [who's] out there on the is field playing, because he can't learn that position.' So, all of our linebackers learn multiple positions – not only from the standpoint of the defense. There's really two big reasons: One, it gives them a better opportunity. When Ray [Lewis] went down last year – it was in the San Francisco game or whatever – and [Dannell] Ellerbe was down, too, we had some guys move from outside 'backer to inside 'backer. [Jarret Johnson] could go in there and play inside 'backer. [He] did that a little bit during practice just in case. You want to get your best 11 players on the field. And like I said, I don't want one of them standing over by me, and I'm looking out at somebody that I don't think is as good as the guy that's standing by me. Second of all, when you learn multiple positions, you learn how to play your position better, because you know what the other guy is doing. And so, it's just like if you know what the defensive lineman is doing in front of you and you're a linebacker, it's going to help me if I know exactly where he's going to be, because I'm fitting off of him. If I just have tunnel vision and I'm only concerned about my position, it doesn't really help you. Guys can talk, communicate. The whole thing runs a lot smoother when guys know what everybody else is doing. We've got a bunch of guys that could probably tell you every position on the field, what the guy is doing. Now, they may not be able to play that position, but they could tell you what they're doing. So, I think that's always a positive."

*Dean, how important is it to have Ed Reed back, and do you expect him to be back? *(Jeff Zrebiec)(PEES) "I expect everybody to be back, absolutely. And, there's not one guy in that room that I don't want back. And there's not one guy that I don't think is very, very important to our future here. So, Ed, and all of them, I would love to have the whole crew back. I know sometimes that's impossible and it generally doesn't happen, but I would just love to have this team just like it is."

*John, do you expect that the rest of your coaching staff will be back? *(Jeff Zrebiec)(HARBAUGH) "We're not looking forward to trying to lose any coaches. Our guys have done a great job. You never know as things kind of shake out, but all of our guys are under contract right now, and we're looking forward to having everybody back."

OLB Jarret Johnson on Pees

"In our business, when you sit down and talk to somebody, you find out real quick their knowledge of football. With Dean, you spend two minutes with him, [and you know] this is a football guy. He understands the sport, he knows a lot about the game. Anytime you have a conversation about the sport with him, you learn something about the game."

LB Jameel McClain on Pees

"He is a great coach. He really fits the player's personality so well. He is a proven winner in this league. I have been around many coaches in my football career, and Dean Pees is as sharp and aware as they come. We are lucky to have him as our coordinator, and I expect great things from our defense."

DT Haloti Ngata on Pees

"Dean is a proven coach in the league, and I am excited to see what he will do with our defense. He is a hard worker, he really knows the game, he knows our personnel, and I think he will continue the great tradition of the Ravens' defense."

CB Lardarius Webb on Pees

"I don't think much will change with coach Pees. We call him 'Coach K,' because he is so knowledgeable about the game. We have some great coaches on this staff, and I know Dean is the right guy for the job. I am really excited about the opportunity to play for him."

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