Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees moved from the sidelines to the coaches box above the field Sunday in Cleveland.
Leading a unit ranked near the bottom of the NFL, it was a change Pees and Head Coach John Harbaugh worked out during the bye.
It appeared to pay dividends for the defense.
Pees has coached from the sideline and the elevated box at various points of his career. He said he’s done each about equally, so he’s comfortable either place.
It varies around the NFL where teams prefer to have their defensive coordinators during the game. Traditionally, the Ravens defensive coordinators have worked from the sidelines, as Chuck Pagano, Greg Mattison and Rex Ryan were all down on the field.
In his first year as the Ravens defensive coordinator, Pees likes to be on the field to have conversations with players quickly and hear what they’re saying to each other. It gives him a sense of whether they’re confused or frustrated, and he can get their perspective immediately.
But Pees said having such a young unit with players taking on some new positions, they aren’t able to tell him as accurately where a problem is occurring. That compares to when he had a savvy veteran such as linebacker Jarret Johnson last year.
Harbaugh was pleased with how the change went over in Cleveland and the team will continue with Pees in the coaches box going forward.
“That was Dean’s idea. That’s something Dean talked about after the game down in Houston,” Harbaugh said. “It worked really well yesterday. The communication was very good.”