Pepper Johnson: Patriots Players Had Trouble Reading Bill Belichick


pepperjohnsonPepper Johnson is finally opening up now that he’s ditched the New England Patriots.

Johnson talked about why he left Bill Belichick’s staff to join the Bills on the John Murphy Show on WGR 550 on Tuesday. Johnson is joining new Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone’s staff as defensive line coach.

“My legs are still shaking a little bit. But I’m excited. I’m so excited,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I always have been a fan of Doug and the Buffalo Bills, just getting the opportunity to spread my wings and getting up from under the shadows of Coach Belichick. So it’s a good thing and a good opportunity. ”

Johnson, who had played or coached under Belichick since 1986, said his dream is to one day be a defensive coordinator. Johnson, 49, coached the defensive line and linebackers during his time with the Patriots.

Johnson described Belichick’s demeanor behind closed doors. The 13-year pro said the Patriots’ head coach isn’t much different than how he appears in public.

“He is what you see. That is him,” Johnson said. “It’s like his mind is constantly going. He’s always thinking. He’s always trying to stay three steps, three months, three years ahead. So lots of times, you can’t really take him personal, because he has walked by me plenty of times in the hallway and doesn’t say hello, or with his head down or whatever.

“I know a lot of players, when they first experience Bill, they think, ‘This guy is dry. He doesn’t address anybody. Did I do anything wrong? Is he mad at me?’ I’m like, ‘Trust me, if he’s not talking to you, it’s a good thing. It’s just being Bill.’ But as soon as he stops you in the hall and starts talking to you, that’s when you need to pay attention and see what you’ve been doing wrong in the past or out there on the field, because something is coming.”

It’s rare to get such telling insight into Belichick from a current or former associate of the head coach.

Photo via Twitter/Patriots

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