New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is off to a quick start after signing both coordinator positions in under 24 hours.
The Titans announced Tuesday that former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees would be replacing Dick LeBeau in leading the defense, while the Rams’ offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur joins the Titans in the same position. Reports of Pees’ hiring were surfacing nearly 24 hours ago.
From the Titans’ release: “I am excited to add both of these guys to our staff,” Vrabel said. “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.”
And then on LaFleur:
“Matt brings an energy and an offensive diversity to our team. 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,” Vrabel said.
Pees retired for four weeks before his close relationship with Vrabel brought him back to football for at least another year.
Pees spent the last eight seasons with the Ravens and last six as defensive coordinator. In 2017, the Ravens finished No. 12 in total defense and No. 6 in scoring defense, both ranked higher than LeBeau’s defense last season.
Pees coached Vrabel in New England as the linebackers coach in 2004-05 and as defensive coordinator from 2006-08. He brings experience as well as success to Tennessee, having won Super Bowls both in New England and Baltimore.
The following morning on Tuesday, the Titans announced they were signing 38-year-old Matt LaFleur as their new offensive coordinator.
LaFleur has had a hand in coaching the league’s top scoring offenses for the past two seasons, as a quarterbacks coach with the Falcons in 2016 and as offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2017.
Under Sean McVay in Los Angeles last season, LaFleur didn’t call plays, but was instrumental in helping the Rams win the NFC West and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
LaFleur’s NFL career started in 2008, when he was hired by the Houston Texans as an offensive assistant. Here, he developed a close relationship with Kyle Shanahan, a friendship which took him to Washington and then Atlanta, serving as the quarterbacks coach for both teams.
The 38 year old’s quarterback experience should be a big benefit to Marcus Mariota: In Atlanta, LaFleur help Matt Ryan put together the best season of his career. Ryan threw for almost 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, both career highs, en route to winning league MVP.
This season, under LaFleur’s guidance, Jared Goff passed for 3,804 yards, 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, leading to a 100.5 passer rating, good for fourth in the NFL among quarterbacks who played in more than 10 games.