The Titans were without a key member of their coaching staff for most of Week 11’s game against the Colts. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees left Lucas Oil Stadium due to an undisclosed medical condition in the middle o the Titans’ 38-10 loss.
The team released a statement confirming during the game that read:
“Titans Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees was experiencing a medical issue during the game. He was tended to by medical personnel and was transported to a local hospital for further observation.”
After the game, Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Pees was recovering nicely:
Mike Vrabel on Dean Pees:— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) November 18, 2018
“Dean’s doing OK. … They’re going to keep him overnight for some tests but everything that I’ve heard as of now has been very positive that he should make a full recovery and be fine.”
Pees’ tests came back negative, and he made the four-hour trip from Indianapolis to Nashville Monday. He’s expected to be back in the lineup when his Titans face the Texans in an important AFC South showdown in prime time Monday night.
After being hospitalized during last week's game in Indianapolis, Titans' defensive coordinator Dean Pees will be back coaching Tennessee's defense tonight against the Houston Texans, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 26, 2018
How important is Pees to the Titans’ defense?
The 69-year-old Pees has been a longtime presence on NFL sidelines. He broke into the league in 2004 after a long career in the college ranks that culminated with a six-year stint (and 17 wins) at Kent State. He was a linebackers coach under Bill Belichick in 2004 and 2005 before taking over the team’s DC duties from 2006 to 2009. He’d follow the same path in 2010 after leaving New England, this time opting to take over Baltimore’s dominant defense. He’s captained a top 10 scoring defense in seven of his 10 full seasons as a defensive coordinator.
He came out of a brief retirement to join the Titans last offseason. In Tennessee, he brought some experience and gravitas alongside Vrabel, a first-year head coach. He explained his decision to delay retirement soon after being hired in Nashville.
“One week after I retired I had gotten an offer to coach and I turned it down,” said Pees. “I had already spoken with the officials at Medicare, talked with the NFL about my pension and had planned the move. We were ready to move our stuff to our retirement home in Michigan,” He added. “Then I got a call from Mike Vrabel and he kept calling and calling. When I was sitting in the office, I kept missing the game more and more. It got to the point where I finally knew I missed it and told him ‘Yes, I’d do it.’ “
His guidance had turned Tennessee’s defense into a ferocious unit. Though they gave up a season-high 38 points to the Colts, the Titans came into Sunday’s game having allowed just 16.8 points per game. They held the New England Patriots to just 10 points in a blowout win the week prior.