On a call with 92.9 The Game, Dean Pees addressed the elephant that has been present in Atlanta’s defensive room for years — the inability to rush the passer consistently.
Falcons DC Dean Pees on the pass rush:
"We heard the same thing when we went to Tennessee, we have no pass rush. And yet we were a good 3rd down defense and got a lot of pressure. We need smart guys & we got smart guys. We're going to come from everywhere every week, so hang on"
— 92.9 The Game (@929TheGame) May 26, 2021
His confidence should inspire optimism among Falcons fans because he’s speaking facts. In 2017, the Titans had one of the worst defenses in the league, particularly against the pass. The personnel afforded to Pees when he came over from Baltimore in 2018 is similar to the Falcons now — average at best. Even with Grady Jarrett, Dante Fowler, Deion Jones, and Foye Oluokun, Atlanta’s defense is still lacking in the personnel department. The Titans 2018 defense experienced growth in every area but was particularly effective on third downs and preventing explosive plays.
The reason for the ascension can be attributed to the scheme Pees brought with him, which relies on creating matchups rather than superior personnel. Pees adjusts his game plan to the opponent each week, which makes his defense so hard to predict because it’s ever-changing. He’ll run every variation of man and zone out of cover 1, cover 2, cover 3, and cover 4 while deploying his defensive front in differing alignments all game long. This forces opposing quarterbacks to account for pressure from everywhere, which can wreck games for even the most veteran quarterbacks — including Tom Brady, who’s seen everything.
Can’t stop laughing at the brilliance of this defensive scheme. #Titans rush 4—one of which is a corner, Jayon Brown sprints back into coverage, and Wake destroys the edge. Browns all kinds of confused. Dean Pees, you wild man. pic.twitter.com/ihbBGZwLrD
— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisWSMV) September 9, 2019
Pees has mass amounts of experience and uses it to disguise blitzes on third downs. Arthur Smith knows how great Pees is going to be too.
“Dean’s body of work kind of speaks for itself. But is Dean is also somebody that is not set in his ways. Dean is very flexible. He’s adaptable,” Smith said this week, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel really good about the entire staff, but on the defensive side we got some really good experience over there. Combining that with some young guys, it’s a good mix. Dean and I have a shared vision. We’ll play to our strengths. We’ll be multiple. It was really beneficial for me, being a first time head coach and I’m still going to call the plays, is that you have somebody with that kind of experience that you can lean on especially on that side of the ball.”
The Falcons will be multiple on defense, but most importantly, there won’t be any fitting square pegs into round holes like there was with the last regime. The ultra-athletic linebacking core needs to be active in every facet of the game, and the lack of pass rush talent needs to be schemed around. Pees will surely use what’s been afforded to him, but I would be surprised if it’s an average unit in total defense, they’ll just be a much better group situationally, which is all you can ask for.
You must log in to post a comment.