NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Less than 24 hours after the news unconventionally broke that former New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees would be coming to Nashville to fill the same position, the Tennessee Titans officially announced both Pees and new offensive play-caller Matt LaFleur, who will help further the development of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The Tennessee Titans name Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator and Dean Pees as defensive coordinator. #TitanUp
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 30, 2018
“I am excited to add both of these guys to our team,” said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website. “Dean brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to our staff. I have seen first-hand how he teaches and develops from our time together and I wanted to bring that same experience to our players here.
Matt brings an energy and an offensive diversity to our team,” Vrabel went on to say. “He is going to develop an offense that puts our players in position to have success. Matt has worked with some great offensive minds, helped game plan on those staffs and I am looking forward to seeing him take that next step as a play-caller.”
LaFleur, 38, was one of three candidates who interviewed earlier this month for Tennessee’s head coaching vacancy to replace Mike Mularkey before the team went with former Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel to fill that role.
As offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, LaFleur presided over the highest scoring offense in football in 2017 (29.9 points per game) and helped work wonders with the development of sophomore signal-caller Jared Goff, who made his first Pro Bowl appearance this season. LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and 2016, coinciding with Matt Ryan’s NFL MVP/Offensive Player of the Year campaign the year the team made it to the Super Bowl, additionally.
LaFleur also helped facilitate the success of Robert Griffin III in his rookie season during his time as Griffin III’s position coach in Washington, a year in which Griffin set franchise rookie records for passing yards (3,200), completions (258), passing touchdowns (20) and rushing yard by a quarterback (815); he coached quarterbacks with in D.C. from 2010 to 2013. With LaFleur’s guidance, Griffin was the first Washington rookie quarterback to be elected to a Pro Bowl and led the team to it’s first division win in over a decade.
New #Titans OC Matt LaFleur has been attached to the two most play-action heavy teams in 2017 as LAR OC (29% of pass plays were PA) and in 2016 as ATL QB Coach (28%).
Marcus Mariota led all QBs in YPA on play-action passes (11.1) in 2017, per PFF.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) January 30, 2018
Pees, who announced his retirement from the Baltimore Ravens staff one day after the team’s season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, spent six seasons running the defense in Baltimore. Pees, 68, cited his desire to spend more time with family as his reason for leaving his profession of 45 years but will be joined by his son Matt on the Titans new coacing staff.
The Ravens defense finished in the Top 10 in three of those six campaigns and was instrumental in a 34-31 Super Bowl XLVII victory with a goal-line stand on the final play of the game. In 2017, Baltimore shut out opponents a league-leading three times and had the most takeaways in the NFL (33). Their plus-17 turnover margin was also a league best.
Pees was Vrabel’s position coach in New England from 2004 to 2005, a season in which they won a Super Bowl, before taking the helm of the Pats defense. The opportunity to work with his son and Pees’s relationship with Vrabel appear to have been enough to coax him back into the NFL. He inherits a unit formerly led by football legend Dick LeBeaU that finished 25th in passing defense, fourth against the rush and 17th in points allowed.
— 102.5 The Game (@1025TheGame) January 26, 2018