After missing out on the Ezekiel Ansah sweepstakes last week, the Ravens decided to bring back an old friend to help bolster their pass rush in 2019. Dust off those #90 jerseys because Pernell McPhee will be back in Baltimore this season on a one-year deal.
OWINGS MILLS, MD — The Ravens have not wasted any time finding a new defensive play-caller. On Tuesday afternoon the team announced that linebackers coach Don Martindale would be taking over the defensive coordinator position for 2018.
This move comes just days after John Harbaugh addressed the media for his season review press conference. In that presser, Harbaugh stated that the team was searching “inside and out” for their next defensive coordinator but is favoring those who are familiar with the Ravens system.
“He knows the ins and outs of what we have been about on defense and has been an important contributor to our success on that side of the ball,” Harbaugh said following Martindale’s promotion.
Martindale, 54, is extremely familiar with the Ravens defense as he has been the linebackers coach since 2012. Before coming to Baltimore, Martindale was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
Martindale will also adopt a much more talented defense than he did last time he was named coordinator. The 2010 Broncos defense, which Martindale led, gave up the most yards and points per game in the league that year.
Looking within for new hires has worked well for the Ravens in the past. Former defensive coordinators, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano, and Dean Pees were all promoted from within the organization. In addition to Martindale’s promotion, the Ravens named Mike McDonald as the new linebacker’s coach.
Image Credit: Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE, MD — As many Ravens fans were sleeping on early Sunday morning, reports surfaced that defensive coordinator Dean Pees intends to retire following the 2017 season. ESPN Ravens Reporter Jamison Hensley was among the first to break the story online.
Pees, 68, is in his eighth season with the Ravens; the sixth as defensive coordinator. He spent his first two seasons with the Ravens as the linebackers coach. Prior to Baltimore, Pees held the same two roles with the New England Patriots from 2004-2009. Pees has also held several coaching positions at the collegiate level, the most notable being his head coaching stint with Kent State from 1997-2003.
How soon Pees can start enjoying retirement depends on when the Ravens’ season ends. The Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals on New Year’s Eve, and can clinch a playoff berth and the #5 seed in the AFC with a win. If the Ravens lose, they can still make the postseason, but will have to rely on either the Titans to lose to the Jaguars, or the Bills to lose to the Dolphins to make that happen.
With Pees at the helm through the first 16 games, the Ravens’ defense ranks first in the NFL with 33 turnovers, fourth in points allowed (272), and ninth in yards allowed (4842). The unit is sending three starters to the Pro Bowl – outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (7X), safety Eric Weddle (5X), and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (3X). Had it not been for this Ravens defense, the early portion of the Ravens’ schedule could have played out a lot differently.
🔥HOT TAKE🔥: This is a big blow for the Ravens. According to many reports, this has been planned for a long time, but out of respect to Pees the Ravens did not make the announcement public until now. While the Ravens will certainly wish Pees a happy retirement, they will need to replace one of the better defensive coordinators in the NFL. It will also be interesting to see how Suggs, now 35 and in his 14th season, reacts to this announcement. Would Suggs want to stick around and learn a new playbook at this point in his career?
A name to keep an eye on in the coming days is Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. After almost six seasons with Indy, Pagano appears to be on the way out. The 3-12 Colts are expected to part ways with Pagano following their game against the Houston Texans tomorrow, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Of course, Ravens fans are all too familiar with Pagano, as he served on Baltimore’s coaching staff from 2008-2011 (secondary coach ’08-’10, defensive coordinator ’11). It remains to be seen whether Pagano would want to find another head coaching gig elsewhere, or return to a coordinator role, potentially with his former team.
Image Credit: Baltimore Sun