Dean Pees estimated that in his 25 years as a defensive coordinator, he’s spent about 12 of the seasons calling plays from a coaching booth upstairs and 13 of them doing it from the sidelines.
Pees, the Ravens’ first-year defensive coordinator, was on the sideline for the team’s first seven games but decided to move upstairs for the 25-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. Pees said that he was pleased with how the arrangement, which included the rest of the defensive coaching staff down on the sidelines, worked out.
"After the bye week, I just felt like there is some information sometimes that I could utilize a little quicker in making adjustments and making some calls. You can obviously see the game better from the press box,” Pees said. “The other thing is, sometimes it actually speeds up some of the calls. For example, if you’re standing on the sideline and they run the ball, I can’t really tell if they gained two or four or five yards really until somebody upstairs tells me that. That means there is a little delay. In the press box, when I see the run and it’s gained two yards, it’s second-and-eight. … That speeds things up a little bit and the other things is you can see some technique things that you can’t see on the sidelines if the play is away from you.”
Pees acknowledged that the downside is that he cannot communicate directly with the players as they come off the field. However, that’s why Pees made sure the rest of the defensive coaching staff was on the field against the Browns. When he noticed something that needed to be corrected, he called down to the sideline to his assistants and had them relay the message.
"I could pass along information to the entire group or to any specific group and get it taken care of right away,” Pees said. “We thought, ‘Hey, let’s take a look at it.’ I’ve done it before so it wasn’t a big deal going to the press box necessarily for me. Really, the staff, we thought it worked out pretty well.”