Titans coordinator Dean Pees working through medical issue
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee defensive coordinator Dean Pees says nothing can be done until the end of the season about the undisclosed medical issue that sent him from the coaches’ box during a game to an Indianapolis hospital.
“I tell the players to suck it up, I got to suck it up,” Pees said Thursday.
Pees spoke Thursday for the first time since missing most of the Titans‘ 38-10 loss to the Colts on Nov. 18. Medical personnel transported him to an area hospital, where the 69-year-old Pees spent the night before returning to Nashville. Titans coach Mike Vrabel sent Pees home from practice on Nov. 23 to rest, and Pees said he also missed another practice last week.
“That didn’t exactly help me prepare for the game, either,” Pees said. “I didn’t do as good a job as I think I’m capable of doing, and that’s no excuse. I’ve got to get it done this week.”
The Titans allowed a season-worst 281 yards rushing Monday night in a 34-17 loss in Houston. Vrabel said he planned to limit Pees to banker’s hours, and Pees joked that he doesn’t think Vrabel’s idea of banker’s hours are what bankers really work.
“Mike also came around at night and made me get out a couple times earlier than what I would’ve normally got, and I appreciate it,” Pees said. “He’s handled it extremely well, and everybody here in the organization has been very supportive. … Just got to keep working at it.”
Pees also said he heard from coaches around the NFL and in college, along with a lot of former players, including several now in broadcasting such as Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi. Ed Reed called him a few days ago to check up on his former coordinator in Baltimore, and Pees said that all means a lot to him.
“It’s been a rough two weeks,” Pees said. I’m not used to missing a game.”
Vrabel said Pees’ health, like that of the Titans’ players, is the most important thing.
“So I’m very mindful to help wherever I can and make sure we’re getting the work done in an efficient and timely manner, so that Dean can get home and get some rest. That should be for all coaches, just making sure we’re efficient in what we do so that we can get home, take care of our bodies, see our families, and not sit here and sleep in the office.”
The Titans (5-6) have allowed 72 combined points over the past two games, dropping what had been the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense to sixth overall. Linebacker Brian Orakpo said the Titans need to relax, trust each other, stick to fundamentals and play their assignments after trying too hard to make a big play.
“We’re literally beating ourselves,” Orakpo said. “I know it sounds cliché or whatever, but honestly, we’re just doing things that are not ourselves, that we were accustomed to do early on in the season.”
Pees said playing better defense is just that simple as they prepare to host the Jets (3-8) on Sunday. He sees the Titans giving up plays with missed tackles and being out of position.
“We got to play better, I got to coach better. I don’t think I did my best job of coaching, either, last week,” Pees said. “I got to do a better job.”
NOTES: LB Will Compton (hamstring) was added back to the injury report after being limited in practice Thursday. S. Dane Cruikshank (knee) and RB David Fluellen (knee) were the only other Titans not to practice fully.