Patriots fire defensive coordinator
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on January 14, 2010 4:37 PM ET
The ugly end to New England's season has cost defensive coordinator Dean Pees his job.
Shalise Manza Young broke the news on Twitter that Pees, 60, was fired Thursday.
Pees kept a very low profile as the team's defensive coordinator, although he was recently in the news for being hospitalized for shortness of breath during New England's Week Seventeen loss.
A former head coach at Kent State, Pees was with New England for six seasons, including the last four as defensive coordinator. He also coached under Nick Saban at Michigan State.
The Patriots came in fifth in scoring defense this year, but came up small in big games. Pees' defensive squads in New England didn't finish worse than eighth in scoring defense in his four seasons.
ESPN's Michael Smith suggested on Twitter that linebackers coach Matt Patricia will be a leading candidate to replace Pees. The Patriots traditionally promote from within.