Thursday, January 14, 2010

Patriots Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees Resigns

Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees resigned from the Patriots yesterday. According to Pees' statement, it was for health reasons, and that appears to be true in this case. Pees was diagnosed with prostate cancer this summer, had trouble with blood clots, and was hospitalized during the last game of the season at Houston.

A year ago, in January of 2009, I wrote of Pees: "[Belichick's] got enough to worry about on Sundays to be dealing directly with the minutiae that his coordinators should handle. So he needs to hire a real [offensive coordinator], and if he doesn't have enough faith in [defensive coordinator] Dean Pees, he should fire or demote him and hire someone he trusts."

Ironically, Pees did a much better job in 2009 than he had in 2008. Despite turning over more than half of his defensive starters (6 new players in 2009) and losing a lot of star power (e.g. the trade of Richard Seymour and injuries to Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo) he and his staff fielded the fifth-best scoring defense in the NFL. The defensive backfield was improved, while the linebackers regressed, but somehow the staff held it together. The failing this year was the offense, not the defense, so it is tough to see Pees leave when he did such an admirable job.

I've thought for a few year that Pees should step aside, though no one ever wants poor health to be the reason. Dean, my best wishes for a full recovery and a long life and career. And best of luck in whatever new role you take on next.

- Scott

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