Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pepper learned simple, valuable lesson from Parcells


New Buffalo Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson played a dozen seasons in the NFL and under some of the best coaches of this generation, namely Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.

He learned a little something along the way.

"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," Johnson said last week, via BuffaloBills.com. “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 stayed on the New York Giants' locomotive and went on to win two Super Bowls under Parcells and then-defensive coordinator Belichick. And since retiring, he's acquired three more rings as a member of the New England Patriots' coaching staff -- again under Belichick -- where he spent 14 years as an assistant.

The 49-year-old plans to employ that same mentality of accountability to an already strong defensive line in Buffalo, one that got production from all over last season and effectively worked as a cohesive unit.

Defensive linemen Kyle Williams, Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes combined for 43.5 of the team's 57 total sacks in 2013, and at least six different Bills defensive frontmen recorded at least one quarterback takedown.

The focus this year will be on improving the run defense, and Johnson will have the luxury of getting that same core back, along with some assistance from defensive front guru Jim Schwartz, the team's new defensive coordinator.

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