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Pepper Johnson Conference Call Transcript - 10/4/2011

Read what Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson had to say as he addressed the New England media on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.

Q: I'm sure you weren't expecting the player with the second most interceptions on the team to be one of your guys. Can you talk about what it's been like to watch Vince continue not only to do his job everyday but also read offenses and make the kind of plays he did like he did on Sunday?  

PJ: Vince is just a great football player. For these things to happen for him, I don't really want to speak too much on it because I don't want to jinx him. It's not really a shocker, but I am happy for him. It just so happened that he was teasing me, he was getting on me a little bit in front of the fellas earlier this year during training camp about how I stole his interception away from him a few years ago. Jarvis Green got a sack and the ball goes up in the air. Vince had an interception in the record books, but reviewing the play it was ruled a sack [and a] caused fumble, so Vince didn't get his interception. I guess he's rubbing it in my face - now he has two.  

Q: Are you worried you're going to lose him to the offensive side of the ball?  

PJ: No way.  

Q: What have you thought of the play of the line through the first four games, running a lot of four-man fronts? Has it been what you had hoped thus far?  

PJ: Yes, and some. We're getting a lot of good plays and a lot of productive plays from some guys that are playing some techniques and are doing some things that they're not normally used to doing or accustomed to doing. It's kind of hard teaching some old dogs new tricks, but we have some guys that are buying into the system and working at it, working hard to try to do some of the things that we ask them to do.  

Q: What about Shaun Ellis in particular? How have you liked what he's done so far?  

PJ: Shaun is a trooper. He's a guy that right when I want to scream at him for a play, he comes back and he turns around and he makes a good play. I know he's one of those guys I'm kind of talking about that's working at trying to do some of the things we ask him to do. A lot of things that we ask him to do are kind of different from his play in the past, but he's been improving.  

Q: How frustrating is it for you not being able to dial in Albert Haynesworth the past few weeks and how frustrated do you think he is not being able to play?  

PJ: I can't speak for Albert, but [for] myself, Coach Belichick would punch me in the face if I got frustrated because I didn't have a particular player. My job is not to count on one person or something like that. My job is to coach whoever is out there on the field. Until Albert is out there on the field, this is who I have to play with. We have to try to win ballgames without him.  

Q: Do you think we may see him this week?  

PJ: I really don't know. I think that's a good question for Coach Belichick. I've been too busy watching film, watching the Jets.  

Q: You make a reference to teaching 'old dogs new tricks.' What has the experience been like for you to work with so many guys who have been in so many different systems before to get them on the same page?  

PJ: It's been very, very challenging. I welcome it. I like the task of doing different things and trying different things. I don't try to force the guys into doing things one way. I understand the ballplayers, having played myself, and I understand some of the things that they're going through. I try to my best to try to relate and get to know the person and feel them out on what will work for them, what type of player they are and work to their strengths. It's been challenging, but it's also rewarding.  

Q: If Jerod Mayo is out for a couple of weeks, is there anything your defensive front can do to help make up for the loss?  

PJ: I like to look at all of us as one unit, as a group. Losing such a leader like Mayo, [in] my past experience, normally guys put a little extra on their plate, put a little extra on their shoulders. Everybody has to take a piece of Mayo out on the field and try to perform and take some of his responsibilities - not just try to put it into one person, but everybody just go out there and play for Jerod until we get him back onto the field.  

Q: We've talked in previous seasons about pass rush and getting to the quarterback. Are satisfied with your pass rush? Would you like to see more of that?  

PJ: I'm a little more than satisfied. I'm quite sure the question has spawned from stats and not really detail of watching the game. I'm watching our guys do what we're asking them to do. We're actually hitting the quarterback. We're just not coming up with the sacks. Can we get there sooner? I don't know - to come up with the sack. I'm not much of a stat person. I just know how we have been affecting some throws. We've been getting as much pressure as we possibly can from the situations that we are in.  

Q: As your guys get more and more acclimated to these new schemes, what will that allow you to do? Has it been fairly basic now compared to what it may be down the road as far as what you can do up front?  

PJ: I think the more they get acclimated, the more comfortable they will play. The more comfortable they're playing, [the] more confident. You start seeing guys playing a lot more aggressively. We have a lot of playmakers. We have some guys that can make some plays. You would see a little more of that when guys become more accustomed to what we're doing and what we're asking them to do. No, I'm not going to pile more on their plate. We just want them to do it more aggressively, more often, with a lot more consistency.

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