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Pepper Johnson Conference Call - 12/28/2010

Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson addresses the New England media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 28, 2010.

Q: We saw Eric Moore in a couple of different types of roles against the Bills. Can you comment on the different roles he played and what you saw there?

PJ: It really wasn't different roles but more special teams plays. He was asked to play defensive end for us and he's a good defensive lineman and he just answered the bell.

Q: I probably didn't phrase it well. Maybe not just in the different roles but also in the different alignments, he was a defensive end in the 3-4 and also an end in the sub-packages. How did he do when he was in the 3-4 playing at end?

PJ: He did pretty well. Like what coach [Belichick] was just talking about a few seconds ago, he was a guy that was given opportunity here. He came in a very inspired guy and a guy that wants to learn. [He] wants to understand what we are trying to do here so we spent a little time with him. We put him out on the field and allowed him to just play football and he did pretty well.

Q: How difficult or easy has it been transferring new guys in and out of the defensive line and making a cohesive decision game-in and game-out?

PJ: I think our guys do a pretty good job with the guys that they are bringing in. The scouting department and coach Belichick bring in guys that can fit in the classroom and that can fit in. That is very important to me. If we have a guy that can't really fit in, in the classroom and that wants to be singled out or needs special attention or anything like that, then it makes it hard to cater to one guy when you have a bunch of other guys that are willing to learn and help paddle. It's not as hard as it may seem but at the same time these are some guys that have had NFL experience. They come in and it's a matter of turning some terminology around. Some guys do some techniques a little different but other than that, it just makes my day a little bit longer spending time with them but it shows up Sunday on game day.

Q: How optimistic are you that Mike Wright will be back for the playoffs?

PJ: I don't want this to sound bad or anything like that because Mike knows I love him but his injury is something that I don't know is really predictable. I don't know if he really knows when he's going to be back or whatever. I am going to be happy to see him when he can join us out on the field but I know it's a process and I am just hoping it's sooner than later.

Q: Along those lines, can you comment on what you've seen from Landon Cohen? He was signed on Wednesday and played pretty extensively in that game on Sunday.

PJ: He came in here very hungry and ready to play. He asks a lot of great questions to get himself prepared to go out there on the field. Playing football and just doing some of the things that he naturally does is easy. Like I said, he had some different techniques and stuff that we asked differently of him. It's going to take him a little while to get use to it but for the most part he did very well in the role that he played in on Sunday.

Q: How thrilled would you be if Vince Wilfork gets selected to the Pro Bowl?

PJ: I will be very excited. I think this guy has been working his butt off from the first day he stepped in here. Every year, it never ceases to amaze me that he takes his game up to another level. This year he really got broad with his shoulders. He has taken a lot of players with him as far as helping guys and helping me in that classroom. He's doing a lot of different things that we ask him to do and he should be rewarded for it.

Q: From a staff standpoint, how do you think not having an official defensive coordinator has worked out this year?

PJ: See, I don't agree with that because I think we have the ultimate defensive coordinator with Bill Belichick. He's always going to be my coach. With him coming in and [with] some of the things that he does in our meeting rooms and orchestrating the meetings and the players and the [advice] and all that stuff, to me it's priceless and I think we have the ultimate defensive coordinator.

Q: How do you feel you have grown as a coach over the years?

PJ: I think I've learned a lot over the years and that's one of the main reasons why I've wanted to coach the defensive line, because - and I don't want this to come out the wrong way - but I don't think there's too much I can learn from the linebacker standpoint. I like to share a little knowledge every now and then to some of the linebackers when they ask me questions or with some of the stuff I see on the field. I get the enjoyment of teaching and developing guys now that I'm coaching the defensive line. It's definitely been a positive experience for me as far as getting the total picture on the defensive side of the ball. When you're playing linebacker for as long as I've played linebacker - not just for 13 years in the league, but high school and college included - there are not too many things pass-coverage wise, blitzes, pressures... I've always been blessed with defensive coordinators that sat down and taught me the game and explained to me why we do this and why we do that. Now I just broaden myself as far as some of the things that I didn't know with defensive linemen. I asked them questions or I just screamed at some of my defensive linemen for guessing things right in the past. But I got a chance to talk to a lot of guys that I played with and played against to get a little experience. But growing up [as a coach] with Vince [Wilfork], Ty Warren, Jarvis [Green] and Mike Wright - growing up with those guys really helped me.

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