Falcons’ Dean Pees to call defense from sidelines this season

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — With the goal of improving the flow of information, Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees plans to call the defensive signals from the sideline this season.

Last season, Pees called the defense from the press-box level.

“I did both at New England,” Pees said Thursday. “I did both in Baltimore. I was up at Tennessee. But here I was up last year.”

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The Falcons tested their system in the exhibition games.

“It really has to do with the information that you can receive from upstairs,” Pees said. “If you can get good quick information, you’d like to be down because you can talk to the players quicker and as they’re coming off the field, and you’re kind of into the game a little bit down there.”

The Falcons ranked 26th in the NFL in yards allowed last season. They have retooled the defense and have nine new starters.

“It’s just as good upstairs,” Pees said. “It’s 50/50. It is calmer up there. You don’t have everybody talking and yelling. You can’t really hear the fans. So, it’s pretty quiet.”

But with limited time to get in calls, he wanted to be on the sideline.

“It really all was based on information,” Pees said. “You’ve got to get information fast. If you’re on the sideline, you got to get it and get it out. I mean, you got basically 10 seconds to make a call, sometimes not even that.

“So, if you’re not getting information fast, you got to do it upstairs because then you can see everything. You aren’t listening to anything else. And you can make the call faster.”

The Falcons will have three assistants upstairs, and they will send information to Pees.

“So, we tried it in the (exhibition games) to see because we got a couple new guys up there, and so it went great,” Pees said. “I really feel comfortable with it.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule

Sept. 11 vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.

Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.


Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD