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.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Pepper Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
The new Defensive Line Coach for the Buffalo Bills got his first taste of the NFL from one of the master motivators in the history of the game.
Pepper Johnson, named last Friday to the DL post with the Bills, was a 2nd round draft pick of the New York Giants in 1986. His first head coach–Bill Parcells.
In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Tuesday night, Pepper Johnson described his first ever team meeting with Parcells and the Giants in 1986.
“He told us all that he didn’t need any of us,” Johnson remembered. “That’s how he started it off. He said the New York Giants didn’t need any of these guys. They had made it to the playoffs–this is a train, a locomotive, and it’s steamrolling. His best advice to us was if you got enough speed and enough heart, then catch on to the caboose, because this train is moving.”
Johnson told host John Murphy Parcells first speech left a big impression on Giants rookies that year.
“You felt like any bad move you might get cut and left high and dry, and I started running,” he said.
Pepper Johnson has spent the last 14-years with the New England Patriots, as a Defensive Line and Linebacker coach. He was asked if Parcells hard-nosed, no-nonsense approach would work with today’s NFL players.
“No,” he answered. “With some guys maybe. Some guys believe in working hard until the day they drop. But some guys feel that a lot of opportunities– they deserve them, and they’re going to make it some form or fashion, whether it’s here or somewhere else, and not looking at it as a privilege, an honor to play in the NFL.”
The entire radio interview with Bills DL Coach Pepper Johnson is available here
Tags: Bill Parcells, Pepper Johnson, The John Murphy Show
Posted in Inside the Bills
As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today (Thursday) Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seahawks and Broncos will mark the first time the number one scoring offense (Denver) will face the number one scoring defense (Seattle) since the Bills and Giants squared off in Super Bowl XXV. Giants head coach Bill Parcells was naturally proud of his players, but gave credit to the Bills after the game that day.
“I realized a long time ago that God playing in some of these games and he was on our side today,” said Parcells. “Both teams were valiant. I thought we played as well as we could. I don’t think there’s too much to choose between the two teams. If we played tomorrow they’d probably win 20-19.
“Our whole plan was to shorten the game for Buffalo. We wanted the ball and we didn’t want them to have it. We accomplished that.”
Meanwhile Bills head coach Marv Levy lamented the missed opportunities.
“We knew we weren’t playing very sharp in the first half with the lead and we knew the second half was going to be the determining factor and it was,” he said. “The touchdown they scored just before halftime certainly had to give them a big lift, but we still had 30 minutes to play and we had our chances.
“Even though we did do better defensively in the second half, the Giants had a very good mix of the run and pass and they used it to good effect. Possession time it’s pretty tough to beat a team with a very good running game and a very good defense.
“We would like to have won. I’m proud of what our players accomplished this season. I don’t think any less of them.”
Tags: Bill Parcells, Marv Levy, Super Bowl XXV
Posted in Inside the Bills