As I correctly predicted when Charles London was hired as Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach, Arthur Smith has made a flurry of hires today:
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
While I preferred Jonathan Gannon, two-time Super Bowl champion Dean Pees is a great hire. I’ve been advocating for a 3-4 defense, and it looks like the Falcons will be headed in that direction under Pees. Both guys have Tennessee connections to Smith. We have reports for Ragone here and Pees here, and we’ll give you a little insight into both guys:
Dave Ragone is in his fifth season on the Bears staff and his first as pass game coordinator in 2020 after spending the previous four as quarterbacks coach. He has eight years NFL coaching experience, including spending the 2013 season as the Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach. He joined the Bears from Washington where he spent the 2015 season as an offensive quality control coach.
In his second season working with Ragone, Trubisky earned 2019 Pro Bowl honors after throwing for 3,233 yards with 24 touchdowns in 14 games. That year Trubisky became just the sixth quarterback in team history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. His four games with a passer rating of at least 120.0 were the most in Bears single-season history and his four games with at least 300 yards passing tied for the most in club single-season annals.
Prior to joining the Bears, Ragone worked on an offensive coaching staff that helped Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to the fifth-highest passer rating in the NFL (101.6), including a 29:11 touchdown to interception ratio and an NFL-best 69.8 completion percentage in 2005.
Before joining Washington, Ragone worked as an assistant coach in Tennessee, overseeing the quarterbacks in 2013 after coaching the wide receivers from 2011-12. In 2013, Ragone worked with QB Jake Locker who had a 99.0 passer rating before injuries derailed his season. Locker finished with an 86.7 passer rating in seven starts (4-3 record).
Dean Pees has coached a lot of very talented defenses in New England and Baltimore. While he had some warts in Tennessee, he has an impressive coaching pedigree and knows the game well. Dean’s son, Matt, is a likely candidate to join Atlanta in some capacity as well. One thing I really like about Pees as a defensive coordinator is the way he mixes up schemes. I’ve been begging Atlanta to move to a 3-4 defense, and that’s the base Pees runs out of. He isn’t married to it, but I think a 3-4 fits the strengths of Atlanta the best — the linebackers.