The Falcons officially have three new coordinators alongside Arthur Smith with Dave Ragone as the team’s offensive coordinator, Marquice Williams the special team’s coordinator, and Dean Pees coming out of retirement to be Atlanta’s defensive coordinator.
We have announced three coordinators on Arthur Smith's coaching staff.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 21, 2021
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Pees Comes Out of Retirement
Pees, 71, and Smith worked together with the Titans under head coach Mike Vrabel. Pees was the Titans defensive coordinator from 2018-2019. Once the 2019 season ended, Pees retired in January of 2020.
Before heading to Tennessee, Pees was in Baltimore with the Ravens for eight seasons under John Harbaugh’s staff. From 2012-2017, Pees was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Prior to moving up, Pees was the inside linebackers coach from 2010 to 2011.
During his first season as defensive coordinator in 2012, the Ravens were crowned Super Bowl XLVII champs, beating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
Pees has some college coaching experience and eas the head coach of Kent State from 1998-2003. In 2004, he joined Bill Belichick’s staff in New England as the Patriots’ linebackers coach for two seasons (2004-05). Pees played a role in the Patriots’ 2005 Super Bowl win over Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2006 and held that position through 2009.
Ragone Has Coached Top QBs
Smith and Ragone are also familiar with each other as the two previously coached together in Tennessee from 2011 to 2013. Smith was the Titans offensive line and tight end assistant coach in that time span while Ragone was the wide receivers coach before he was promoted to quarterbacks coach. Smith also spent a season as the Titans’ offensive assistant/quality control coach and then another season as the defensive assistant/quality control coach.
Ragone, 41, ended his fifth season with the Bears and his first as the passing game coordinator. He was the quarterback coach before he was promoted. Prior to that, Ragone was the offensive quality control coach for the Washington Football Team. Ragone has played a key role in helping to turn around Mitchell Trubisky, Jay Cutler, Kirk Cousins, and Jake Locker.
Williams Is An Upcoming Name
This name might come by surprise to some as Williams isn’t well known around the league and doesn’t seem to have a connection to Smith like the other two hires do.
He started his career in 2016 with the Los Angeles Chargers as an assistant special teams coach and held that same position in 2017 before becoming a defensive assistant role in 2018.
Williams spent the last two seasons in Detroit as the Lions’ assistant special teams coach. This past season, the Lions ranked third in punt returns, averaging 12.8 yards per return, and landed at eighth in kickoff returns with an average of 24.9 yards. Williams helped Jamal Agnew lead the league in 2019 in touchdown return and Agnew finished third in the league with 783 kickoff return yards this season.