Instead of stepping out of character by raising his voice to tear into his beleaguered defense, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees maintained a professorial approach.
Players described Pees as using his usual low-key tone during a defensive meeting following the Ravens' 49-27 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. And Pees had little difficulty finding plenty to correct for a defense that surrendered seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning as he tied an NFL record.
"He's not going to go crazy, coach Pees is himself," cornerback Corey Graham said. "He's going to be a calm guy. He's going to tell you what you did wrong, he's going to correct it and put you in position to do well next time."
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Anger wasn't Pees' primary reaction to an overhauled defense now ranked last in the NFL after allowing the Broncos to pile up 510 yards of total offense. It was definitely frustrating, though, for Pees to see so many big plays, singling out at least nine triggered by shoddy tackling and coverage breakdowns.
Although Pees didn't unleash a tirade on his players, the veteran coach vented for over five minutes during his opening response in an impassioned explanation Thursday about what plagued his defense in Denver.
"This has been a hard week because I'm disappointed in the outcome," Pees said in his first comments since the defeat. "I'm disappointed in the statistics, which look terrible. I'm not disappointed in the total defensive effort we gave.
"It isn't one where you just start chastising and ranting and raving and be crazy. You can't sit there and go, 'Well, it's OK because it's not.' .. When you give up 49 points and 500 yards, it's just really, really disappointing. I'm not a stat guy, but I'm not an idiot, either."
Now, Pees is in a hurry to correct the miscues heading into Sunday's home opener against the Cleveland Browns.
With Pees taking an educational approach to the setback, several players praised him for not overreacting to what happened in Denver.
"You can't get too carried away, it's the first week," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "It's a lot of football left. Hollering at guys and getting all animated about a bad outing, it doesn't go a long ways. I thought Dean handled it great and was informative."
However, the defense will need to improve significantly to meet its goals following an offseason of change where middle linebacker Ray Lewis retired, free safety Ed Reed, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger and cornerback Cary William left via free agency and strong safety Bernard Pollard was cut.
"We want to be a top 10 defense, and we still can be," Pees said. "Is it a technique thing? Is there anything we can do better to coach those guys in the technique? Is it a personnel problem. It's our situation to solve those.
"We didn't play poorly, we played poor plays. There were nine of them, and we've got to correct those nine plays. I still really believe we can be a very, very good defense. The corrections just jumped off the charts because they were so easy."
Pees has been tasked with getting a lot of new personnel to mesh, including four newcomers in Huff, Canty, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and inside linebacker Daryl Smith.
He insists the first-game issues aren't attributable to a lack of familiarity triggered by so much change.
"It wasn't chemistry," Pees said. "If you've got a guy in man coverage, you've got to cover that man. It was not rocket science. The communication was there. I think our guys really work well together, and like each other."
Graham was consistently beaten by slot receiver Wes Welker, including a 2-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter attributable to an assignment error with Graham failing to react in time to an outside pass to Welker with cornerback Lardarius Webb retreating inside to cover Demaryius Thomas.
The Ravens also had breakdowns where defensive backs would try to pass off a receiver to the next line of defense thinking a teammate would be there with help arriving too late, or not at all.
"It can be devastating, especially when you're going against a quarterback like Peyton Manning, a guy that knows where he wants to go with the ball and he's capable of making all the throws," Graham said.
"When one guy is off, it can definitely be a problem, but when like two or three [are off], it can be dramatic."