The Providence Journal is reporting at this hour that the Patriots have fired defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Personally, this move wasn’t all that much of a shock. The timing of it is, a little bit. It was reported that the Patriots coaches would be taking a couple of weeks off before launching into 2010. The fact that they made this move now (if true, of course) seems to indicate that this was something they had to get done right now. Romeo Crennel was just hired as the Kansas City defensive coordinator, so does this mean someone like Pepper Johnson will be moving into the DC chair? Johnson had been a candidate for the Giants DC job earlier this week, and perhaps he has been deemed more important to keep than Pees.

Could they hire someone outside the team? Al Grohl has interviewed with the Dolphins this week, so he is available, but Pepper Johnson seems the logical move. Linebackers coach Matt Patricia is considered a rising coach as well. The National Football Post thinks that Patricia is the leading candidate.

Several new reports state that Pees contract was up at the end of this month and that Pees made the decision not to come back.

The offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.