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Inside The Bills

Pepper: I’m a demanding coach for a reason

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2014 – 2:52 pm

Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson won a pair of Super Bowls as a player under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants, and three more as a coach with the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick. Those two coaches were and are demanding and shaped him as a coach. Naturally he considers himself demanding as well.

“I think the sport demands a lot out of you. I think you really need to have that, but my job is really to get the players to understand each other,” Johnson said. “As long as they understand each other and I can sit back and watch them work from the things that I have shown them and made them aware of in the classroom and the practice field, then I don’t have to do all that yelling and pointing fingers on the sideline. That’s when I feel like in my job I’ve accomplished something.

“Until then I have a little carving and drafting to do to get that format across so that everybody is working on the same page. We can’t go out there playing as individuals or thinking selfishly. We all have to have the same track and stay focused on a common goal whether it’s day by day or week by week. It’s grasping every moment. That’s what we have to learn from each other.”

Johnson won his first NFL title in his rookie season under Parcells and Belichick, who was the defensive coordinator, but when he first arrived at Giants camp he wasn’t sure he’d even make the team despite being a second-round pick.

“When I first came into the league I had a little idea of who coach Parcells was, and Parcells made it totally clear in his first rookie meeting that he didn’t need any one of us,” recalled Johnson. “He said they were a locomotive that was moving and you need to run and sprint and jump on the back of it because they were already moving.”

Johnson of course made the team and appeared in all 16 games his rookie year as a special teamer and rotational player on defense.

“Fortunately they did use a few of us,” said Johnson.


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