OWINGS MILLS – After spending six seasons (2004-09) on Bill Belichick’s staff, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees admits facing the Patriots is a little personal.
“It’s kind of like playing against your brother in golf,” said Pees, as the Ravens prepared to visit the Patriots on Monday Night Football. “Sometimes you want to beat your friend and your family more than you want to beat somebody you don’t know.”
Pees knows Belichick and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady very well. Does that knowledge give the Ravens an edge in matchups against the Patriots?
“None, zero,” Pees said. “Their playbook is so big and massive on offense. They just have a lot of stuff, and they utilize it to the best of their ability. That’s what I know about them. The only advantage I have is just knowing that they have a lot of stuff, and they can do a lot of things. That’s the advantage I have, if that’s an advantage.”
However, Pees’ ability as a coordinator should not be overlooked. The Ravens have the NFL’s top-ranked defense, yielding just 296.1 yards per game. Ravens players trust that the 67-year-old Pees will put them in the best positions to make plays.
“He’s been coaching longer than my oldest brothers have been alive,” Smith said. “I don’t think there’s a play he hasn’t seen, or a formation. The thing I’ve always admired about coach Pees is he covers everything. Even the things that you’re like, ‘What if?’ He’s already thought about that what if.”
Pees hopes he can devise a game plan that will thwart Brady on Monday. The Patriots (10-2) won’t have tight end Rob Gronkowski (season-ending back surgery), and they may not have wide receiver Danny Amendola (ankle), yet Pees expects a difficult challenge.
“There’s nobody that does a better job with personnel than the Patriots,” Pees said. “They’ll be ready.”
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