Posted: 9:01 am Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Pepper Johnson an intriguing option for Dolphins’ D-coordinator post 

By Brian Biggane

Pepper Johnson

Johnson

As the Dolphins resume their search for a defensive coordinator this week, here’s a name to keep in mind: Pepper Johnson.

Though he’s been a member of Bill Belichick’s coaching staff in New England since 2000, Johnson obviously has close ties to Bill Parcells. He was one of the first players Parcells drafted upon joining the New York Giants in 1986, arriving as a second-round pick, and played on Super Bowl championship teams in 1987 and 1990.


Johnson has been more closely tied to Belichick, joining him as a player in Cleveland in 1993 and again in 1997 with the New York Jets. Following his retirement in 1998, he once again followed
Belichick, this time to New England, in 2000 as assistant linebackers coach. He became inside linebackers coach a year later and defensive line coach in 2004.

Pepper Johnson has been passed over for the Patriots' defensive coordinator job. (AP photo)

Pepper Johnson has been passed over for the Patriots' defensive coordinator job. (AP photo)

But Belichick has looked elsewhere twice already when time came to fill the D-coordinator post, and the expectation in New England is that will happen again this time when he replaces Dean Pees, opting instead for linebackers coach Matt Patricia.

Johnson was considered a candidate for the New York Giants’ D-coordinator job that went to former Buffalo coordinator and interim head coach Perry Fewell last week.

At 45, Johnson could bring youth and vitality to the Dolphin defense. And while his D-line didn’t have the best year in 2009, it did a credible job considering the Richard Seymour trade and injuries that impacted its performance. New England ranked 13th against the run this year.

If not Johnson, Miami could also consider Pees. While Pees had some health concerns late in the season, being hospitalized during the season finale against Houston due to chest pains, insiders say the parting had more to do with the performance of his defense.

Pees has no history with anyone in the Dolphin organization, but the Patriots’ 3-4 scheme is very similar to the one in Miami and the transition wouldn’t be a difficult one.

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  1. [...] Biggane of the Palm Beach Post suggests New England Patriots‘ defensive line coach Pepper Johnson for the Dolphins’ defensive [...]