How Falcons DC Dean Pees Is Shaking Things Up in 2022


Getty Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees is shaking things up this fall.

Pees revealed on Thursday, September 8 that he will be calling plays down on the sidelines this season rather than up in the box.

“I did both at New England,” Pees said. “I did both in Baltimore. I was up at Tennessee. But here I was up last year.”

Pees put his new plan to the test during Atlanta’s preseason games and was happy with the overall results.

“We tried it in the (preseason games) to see because we got a couple new guys up there, and so it went great,” Pees said. “I really feel comfortable with it.”

Pees added that upstairs is nice since it’s quiet and calmer, however being down on the field relays information a lot faster.

“It really has to do with the information that you can receive from upstairs,” Pees said. “If you can get good quick information, you’d like to be down because you can talk to the players quicker and as they’re coming off the field, and you’re kind of into the game a little bit down there.”

Pees Ready to Unleash 100% of His Defensive Scheme

At the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season, the Falcons ranked near the bottom of nearly all of the important categories on defense.

They gave up an average of 364.4 yards per game (26th), 131.9 yards rushing (27th), 232.5 yards passing (18th) and 27 points (30th), and finished dead last in sacks.

While there were several reasons why the Falcons played poor defense, one of the bigger reasons was that they had to learn an entirely new 3-4 defense under Pees in a short amount of time.

Thus, Pees could not open up his entire playbook since he didn’t want to overwhelm the overall young unit––but that changes this year.

“I kind of know (that) the guys that are back kind of know what to expect,” Pees said earlier this offseason. “You know what we’re really looking for. Last year, I’d say we put in, at the end of the year, maybe 60% of the defense that we really want to run. This year, it’s going to be 100%.”

With more veterans added to the defensive depth chart and the other guys now entering their second season under Pees’ system, the players should feel a lot more comfortable––resulting in a more disruptive unit.

Pees Shares Message to Doubters

The Falcons haven’t had a steady defense for quite some time and critics love to, well, criticize.

However, Pees shared a message for the naysayers back in July, which ended up going viral.

“We’re changing the culture around this dadgum place,” Pees said. “It’s not going to be mediocre. It’s not going to be average. It’s not going to be in the bottom half of the league like it’s been 15 of the last 20 years. Sick of that crap. We’ve got to take charge, and it’s not going to be anyone else to do it but us. I’m tired of everybody telling us how bad we are, because after a while you start believing it. . . . Guys around here on defense sometimes believe 15th is OK or whatever. We’ve been in the Top 10 one time out of the last 20 years.

“That bullshit’s over. Sorry, I’m getting fired up today, but I’m tired of this crap. We’re going to change the culture of the defense around this frickin’ place. People are going to start talking about the Atlanta defense like they did Baltimore and New England. It’s going to be the same shit around here.”

So buckle up Falcons fans because change is coming––for the better.


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