Could former XFL coach be headed to the Tennessee Titans?
By Will Lomas
An interesting coaching move from the XFL could affect the Tennessee Titans.
The Tennessee Titans coaching staff is completed…unless it isn’t.
Today news came out that the XFL’s L.A. Wildcats were firing their DC Pepper Johnson after one week.
Now, the name Pepper Johnson may sound familiar to you if you have kept up with the New England Patriots or if you were an NFL fan during the early 90s.
That is because the former All-Pro linebacker under Bill Belichick way back in his New York Giants and Cleveland Browns days.
The connection doesn’t stop there as Belichick was so fond of his former linebacker that he had him on his staff for 13 years in various roles. One of those roles was as Mike Vrabel‘s position coach for at least four seasons.
Tennessee’s coaching staff is a little bit thin right now after the Titans decided to go without a defensive coordinator…for some reason. So, if the Titans wanted to bring in an extra body to be an assistant linebacker coach (or whatever the title may be) there is room in the budget to do so.
Pepper Johnson wouldn’t have been a target during the recent search for a linebackers coach because he was about a week away from his first DC role. While his one game didn’t go great, that shouldn’t diminish from the fact that he is highly thought of by Bill Belichick.
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By the transitive property, we can probably assume that Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel are also fans of his based on their decade together in New England.
If the Titans want to restructure the defense and give Jim Haslett the title off DC while Mike Vrabel still calls the plays (like Sean McVay does in L.A. but on offense) then you can call Pepper Johnson the new linebacker coach.
This way, Vrabel doesn’t look like he is consolidating power and he can get another one of his acquaintances in the fold.
This move might not happen, but I can guarantee you that calls are being made as you read this about where Pepper Johnson might be able to end up coaching and whether that is people reaching out to him or the other way around, I have to imagine those calls are happening quickly.