Not many people around the NFL have faced Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense as much as Dean Pees has.
Pees was part of the Patriots' coaching staff the last six seasons (two as linebackers coach and four as defensive coordinator), meaning he spent countless hours squaring off against the New England offense in practice. In that time, he picked up plenty of information about their personnel, how that group operates schematically, and what their tendencies are in various situations.
Now in his first year with the Ravens as linebackers coach, Pees has had a chance to put that knowledge on display this week as his new team prepares to face his old one Sunday in Foxboro.
But while he's certainly passed along some information to his players and fellow coaches throughout the week, Pees downplayed the impact of his personal scouting report.
"Obviously I've practiced against Brady a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what they're going to do in the game," Pees said today. "I've seen it all, over practice, over six years. You know, I've seen every formation, everything that they do, and they keep changing it all the time.
"So, it's going to be game-plan specific for what we are. All I can do is I think I can help a little more on personnel and what guys can do, and maybe what the shortcomings are, or what they're not, hopefully. But I don't think that's any more than what we do every week. So, I think it's pretty much a normal [week].
Part of Pees' rationale has to do with the constant movement of coaches and players around the NFL.
Because of free agency (for players) and the nature of the coaching landscape, Pees says there will almost always be someone on a team who can give some type of "inside information" on his team's upcoming opponent.
"Everybody in the league has played for somebody else," Pees said. "Whether it be Josh [McDaniels] at Denver, going against New England... I mean, just think, there's probably somebody on every staff that has been on somebody else's staff. And sometimes, I think that can be overrated.
"And also sometimes, I think you can give maybe too much information. I think it's got to take every game, and you get into a routine of how you study a team. You may have a little something to add, but I think it's a lot less than what people on the outside might perceive it to be."
Still, it's hard for me to believe that finding out more information about a quarterback as good as Brady and an offense as dynamic as the Patriots' wouldn't help the Ravens this Sunday.
Pees might be right; he might not be able to help his current team as much as us outsiders might think.
But I'm sure those in The Castle are still listening to their linebackers coach with open ears this week.