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Ravens Linebackers Coach Dean Pees spent six years as New England’s defensive coordinator.
He’s seen it all, as he says. Every formation, everything Tom Brady and the Patriots offense does.
But that doesn’t mean he knows everything about what the Patriots will do this Sunday.
Pees knows the Patriots’ personnel, but he doesn’t know what scheme changes Head Coach Bill Belichick has made since he left or even over the past two weeks during the bye.
“You may have a little something to add, but I think it’s a lot less than what people on the outside might perceive it to be,” Pees said.
Asked whether he’s had a meeting with Pees this week about what he saw in New England, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison laughed.
“If you consider starting at 6:30 in the morning and going home at 12:30 at night for the last three months … a meeting,” he said. “Anytime one of our coaches has some kind of relationship or has been somewhere like that, obviously [we talk about it]. Our deal is, any information anybody can give us, you’re going to use it.”
What still resonate are tips about the Patriots’ personnel. Pees has first-hand knowledge of New England’s offensive players’ shortcomings and strengths from facing them every day in practice.
But each week, the Ravens’ coaches diligently go about breaking down their opponents, so it’s still the same process of passing that information on to their players. Pees, who joined the Ravens this offseason, added that you also don’t want to give too much information and mess with a players’ preparation routine.
The juicy information, like what plays the Patriots offense might run, is harder to nail down because so much can change from when the Ravens knocked New England out of last year’s playoffs. The Patriots didn’t even hire a defensive coordinator to replace Pees, leaving Belichick as the play-caller.
But Belichick is well aware that his former coach is helping the other side, so he’ll take appropriate measures to disguise or alter calls and formations.
“They keep changing it all the time,” Pees said. “So, it’s going to be game-plan specific for what we are.”
As far as the emotions of returning, Pees is feeling his competitiveness kick in. He compared facing his former team to playing a round of golf with family members.
“It’s kind of like you always want to beat the family and friends more than you really want to beat somebody else,” Pees said.