Jets defensive line coach Pepper Johnson spoke for the first time (with the beat writers) and it is clear that he is focused solely on the Jets 2015 season.
He declined to comment on his run last season as the defensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills, and turned around a question about not being hired as the New York Giants defensive coordinator as an opportunity to praise his new head coach.
“I’m trying not to go backwards. It’s a blessing for me to get the experience and all that,” Johnson said. “I am ecstatic about working with Todd Bowles. I am telling you every time he stands in front of you all or in front of the team, what he says are words I would have liked to have said or had the courage to say. He’s a strong man. I’m happy in the situation I’m in.”
Johnson added that before this season, he has never coached with any of the other assistant coaches or with Bowles himself. They’ve run into each other at the NFL Combine over the years, but have never shared the same sideline. Johnson is, however, familiar with Bowles from their time as players.
They both entered the NFL in 1986. Johnson was drafted by the Giants in the second round. Bowles was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Redskins.
“He’s a very energetic guy,” Johnson said about Bowles.
Johnson has been a part of five Super Bowl-winning teams in his career, winning two as a player and three as a coach.
The Jets hope his pedigree rubs off.