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Inside The Bills

Why Pepper left the Pats to come to Buffalo

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 4, 2014 – 8:00 pm

It’s a big move for Pepper Johnson. The Bills new Defensive Line Coach made the switch to Buffalo after 14-seasons on the coaching staff of their biggest rival-the New England Patriots.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Tuesday night, Johnson said he made the move to get out from under the shadow of Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.

Johnson said he was comfortable in New England, and still pinching himself after a couple of days on the job in Orchard Park.

“My legs are still shaking a little bit,” he said. “But I’m excited, I’m so excited. I have always been a fan of Doug (Marrone) and the Buffalo Bills, and just getting the opportunity to spread my wings, and to get up from under the shadow of Coach Belichick. So it’s a good thing, a good opportunity.”

Johnson moved around the Patriots defensive coaching staff during his 14-years there, coaching both linebackers and defensive line. He spent the last two seasons working with New England’s linebackers, the position he played in the NFL. He told host John Murphy it’s all an effort to continue to grow as a coach.

“I’m growing,” Johnson said. “I’m a very ambitious person. I started off coaching and I moved around a little bit while I was there with New England, starting off with the linebackers,…then I graduated to coaching inside linebackers and took the linebackers over, and then eventually the defensive line. I went back to linebackers last year.”

Pepper Johnson does not hide his ambition to move up. And it’s been speculated in Boston that his move to Buffalo may be his attempt to set himself up for a defensive coordinator’s position in the NFL. Johnson says that would appeal to him.

“I would love to,” he said. “In a sense, those 13 years that I played in the NFL, I graduated to calling a lot of the defenses and having the responsibility of running our defense, and being an extension of the head coach on the sideline. It’s a dream of mine and a goal of mine, but right now, I have to deal with this defensive line.”

The entire radio interview with Pepper Johnson is available here


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Posted in Inside the Bills