The Atlanta Falcons announced the coordinators for new head coach Arthur Smith on Thursday.
The NFL team named Dave Ragone as offensive coordinator, Dean Pees as defensive coordinator and Marquice Williams as special teams coordinator. Additionally, the Falcons will retain wide receivers coach Dave Brock.
Ragone comes to Atlanta after five seasons with the Chicago Bears. He spent the 2020 season as the team’s passing game coordinator following four seasons as quarterbacks coach. Last season, Ragone assisted quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles who, despite a mid-season slump, led the team to a Wild Card playoff berth. The duo combined to complete 65.8 percent of their passes for 3,907 yards with 26 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. He also guided Trubisky to Pro Bowl honors following the 2018 season after throwing for 3,233 yards with 24 touchdowns in 14 games.
Prior to joining the Bears, Ragone worked in Washington, helping quarterback Kirk Cousins lead the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) and rank fifth in passer rating in the NFL (101.6) as he tossed 29 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Ragone served as the Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach in 2013 after spending two seasons coaching the wide receivers from 2011-12. He also worked as a quarterback coach for the Hartford Colonials of the UFL in 2010.
The Middleburg Heights, Ohio, native played three seasons at quarterback for the Houston Texans (2003-05). He also spent time with the Berlin Thunder, earning NFL Europe Offensive MVP honors in 2005. He was also a three-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year at Louisville.
Pees comes to Atlanta with 16 years of NFL coaching experience, including 12 seasons as a defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Pees is one of eight defensive coordinators in NFL history to coach in a Super Bowl with two different teams, doing so with New England in 2007 and Baltimore in 2012.
In 10 of his 12 seasons as a defensive coordinator, Pees’ defenses have ranked in the top 12, including his first season in Tennessee in 2018 when the Titans ranked eighth in total defense and third in scoring defense, allowing only 18.9 points per game – the fewest points allowed by Tennessee since 2008.
Prior to his time in Tennessee, Pees spent eight seasons with the Baltimore Ravens from 2010-17, including six seasons as defensive coordinator (2012-17). Over his six years as defensive coordinator, Pees’ defense ranked eighth in yards allowed per game (334.7), ninth in points allowed (21.1 avg.), eighth in rushing yards per game (103.4 avg.), fourth in rushing yards per play (3.9 avg.) and seventh in opponent passer rating (85.4).
Before joining Baltimore’s staff, Pees spent six seasons (2004-09) under Bill Belichick on New England’s staff, including four years (2006-09) as defensive coordinator. During his tenure as defensive coordinator, the Patriots were the only team in the NFL to finish in the top 10 in scoring defense in four consecutive seasons. The Patriots also allowed fewer than 20 points per game in every season under Pees, the best four-year run of any coordinator in the Belichick era.
Pees spent 25 years coaching at the collegiate level including 21 seasons as either a head coach or defensive coordinator. The Dunkirk, Ohio, native spent six seasons (1998-2003) as the head coach at Kent State University where he coached quarterback Josh Cribbs and future NFL Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison. Pees also served on the coaching staffs of Nick Saban (Michigan State 1995-97; Toledo 1990-93) and Lou Holtz (Notre Dame 1994).
Williams joins the Falcons after two seasons with the Detroit Lions where he served as an assistant special teams coach. During that time, he helped Jamal Agnew total 1,237 yards on 45 kickoff returns – the fourth-most in the NFL – while averaging 27.5 yards per return and breaking a return 100 yards for a touchdown. Agnew tied for the league lead with two total return touchdowns in 2019. With Williams’ assistance, Matt Prater converted 47-of-59 field goal attempts, including 10-of-13 from 50-plus yards with a long kick of 59 yards.
Prior to joining the Lions in 2019, he spent three seasons (2016-18) with the Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff. As a defensive assistant with the Chargers in 2018, Williams assisted the ninth-best defensive unit (333.7 yards per game) in the league and guided rookie safety Derwin James to his first-career Pro Bowl.
Williams began his coaching career in 2010 as the linebackers/assistant special teams coach at Winona State University before moving on to assistant coaching positions with Central Oklahoma (2011) and South Dakota (2012-15). In 2015, Williams participated in the NFL's Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program with the Lions, where he served as a coaching intern for linebackers and special teams. Williams received his first opportunity with the Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Chicago Bears from 2013-14. He also served as the special teams coordinator for the East/West Shrine Game in 2017 and 2018.
He was a two-year starter at defensive back at Fresno City College before going on to play at the University of Mary (N.D.).
This will mark Brock’s fifth season with the Falcons, having served in multiple roles on the offensive staff over the past four seasons. Brock coached wide receivers in 2018 and 2020, running backs in 2019 and was an offensive assistant in 2017. Last season, wide receiver Calvin Ridley recorded single-season career-highs in receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,374), while tallying a team-high nine touchdown receptions and earned second-team Associated Press All-Pro honors. The third-year receiver eclipsed 100 receiving yards in eight games in 2020, the most in the NFL and the third-most in a single season in franchise history. Wide receiver Russell Gage also set single-season career-highs for receptions (72), receiving yards (786) and receiving touchdowns (four) under Brock’s tutelage in 2020.