According the New York Daily News, the Giants are interested in Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson to fill their vacant defensive coordinator position, and the feeling is mutual.
Johnson, of course, would be a throwback down there, having been a part of two Super Bowl champions with the Giants as a player from 1986-92. He joined his old defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick in Cleveland in 1993, and the two were reunited again with the Jets in 1997 and ’98, when Bill Parcells was in charge of Gang Green.
Belichick also gave Johnson his start in coaching — hiring him as assistant linebackers coach in 2000. Johnson was elevated to inside linebackers coach in 2001, then moved to defensive line coach in 2004, the position he’s held since.
New York badly missed Steve Spagnuolo (who became coach of the Rams last January) this year, falling from fifth to 13th in total defense and allowing 26.7 points per game after yielding just 18.4 in 2008. As such, Spagnuolo’s replacement, Bill Sheridan, was fired this week.
Johnson and New York head coach Tom Coughlin were together with the Giants, when Coughlin was receivers coach there in 1988 and ’89.