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Old 01-22-2014   #457
Playoffs 
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Default Re: O'Brien & His Coaching Staffs

Patriots Notebook: Longtime assistant Pepper Johnson to leave
Quote:
[However, it’s widely believed Johnson was unhappy about being passed over for the vacant defensive coordinator position after Dean Pees left following the 2009 season. Johnson and Matt Patricia were the most trusted defensive assistants in 2010, when the players viewed Belichick as the defensive coordinator, but Patricia earned more time in the spotlight as the play-caller in 2011 and was officially promoted to his current role in 2012.

It seems plausible that Johnson didn’t see any opportunities to climb the coaching ladder with the Patriots, and the chance to step out of Belichick’s shadow might have offered a new path. Johnson first served as the Patriots’ assistant linebackers coach (2000) before advancing to inside linebackers coach (2001-03), defensive line coach (2004-11) and linebackers coach (2012-13).

Johnson also played for Belichick when he was the Giants defensive coordinator, Browns head coach and Jets assistant head coach.

“Today marks a new day for me,” Johnson said in a statement released to the Herald. “Today is a new day full of promise and hope. It is also a day to reflect, as I embark upon a new journey. Today is the first day in (14) years that I am not a part of the New England Patriots, although I will always be a Patriot in my heart. Today also marks the first day in 26 years that I am not working in some capacity with one of greatest head coaches of all time, as well as my friend, Bill Belichick.”

Johnson, who also thanked the Patriots, Robert Kraft and the fan base, is expected to remain in football and could seek employment with the Texans. Their new head coach, former Pats assistant Bill O’Brien, has hired Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator and Mike Vrabel as the linebackers coach.
The thing is, I'd think the plan -- at this point, anyway -- would be to groom Vrabel for DC.
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