OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens opted for continuity in their coaching staff, promoting from linebackers coach Dean Pees to replace defensive co-ordinator Chuck Pagano and retaining offensive co-ordinator Cam Cameron.
Coach John Harbaugh also announced Friday that special-teams co-ordinator and assistant head coach Jerry Rosburg also will be back.
“Cam Cameron has been our offensive co-ordinator and will continue to be our defensive co-ordinator, and Dean will be our defensive co-ordinator,” Harbaugh said . “The tradition of this defence will continue, and it will flourish and it will get even better.”
Pees, 62, was defensive co-ordinator for the New England Patriots from 2006-09. He replaced Chuck Pagano, who left after one year to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
“I’m not going to be the same as Chuck,” Pees said. “You got to be who you are. It is an incredible opportunity to be a defensive co-ordinator for anybody in this league, but it’s especially humble to be one for the Ravens.”
Harbaugh said he only looked at internal candidates for the job. Pees was secondary coach at Miami of Ohio when Harbaugh was a defensive back at the school.
“We go back a long way,” Harbaugh said. “If Dean can make me any kind of a player, that shows you the kind of great coach he really is. I’ve always respected his work, always respected the kind of person he is.”
Cameron coached the Ravens to a No. 15 ranking in total offence, improving from 22nd in 2010.
“It was a good year,” Harbaugh said. “We turned a lot of things over on offence. We had all young receivers out there for the first time. We had new tight ends for the first time. I thought our players and coaches did a great job.”
The Ravens lost 23-20 to New England in the AFC championship game on Sunday to finish a 13-5 season. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for two touchdowns and 306 yards against the Patriots, and the offence performed well enough over the season for the Ravens to retain Cameron.
Cameron’s current four-year contract expires next month. He said the length of his new deal is still being determined.
“I’m obviously thrilled,” Cameron said. “When you’ve got the support of (owner) Steve Bisciotti, (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and John … all our guys, it’s exciting. I called Ozzie and said, ‘Hey, I’m just thrilled to be back.’ And Ozzie said, ‘Cam, in our minds, you were never gone.’ And that means the world. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of unfinished business.”
Criticized often, Cameron understands that’s part of the job.
“I know that goes with the territory,” Cameron said. “Criticism is part of the game. It goes with the co-ordinators, it goes with the quarterbacks. We’ve got to go out and prove ourselves every week.”
Harbaugh said hiring a quarterbacks coach is a possibility.
“I think the quarterback and the offensive co-ordinator have to be one mind,” Harbaugh said. “That really helped Joe grow in this offence. It was direct communication every single day all day long. Whether that will be the best thing to do next year, we’re talking about that. Joe will have a tremendous amount of input in that, along with Cam, obviously.”