The Los Angeles Wildcats of the newly-formed XFL have fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson after just one game.
On Saturday, the new XFL commenced with its first-ever pair of games. The D.C. Defenders ousted the Seattle Dragons in the initial matchup, with the Houston Roughnecks defeating the Los Angeles Wildcats in the evening contest.
During the latter matchup, the Roughnecks were able to put up 37 points and 315 total yards on the struggling Wildcats. Because of this performance, Los Angeles decided to part ways with defensive coordinator — and former New York Giants and New York Jets linebacker — Pepper Johnson.
This was Johnson’s first coaching job since he coached the linebackers for the Memphis Express of the now-ceased AAF in 2019. His last time coaching in the NFL was during his tenure as the Jets defensive line boss from 2015-16.
Wildcats head coach/general manager Winston Moss released a statement after Johnson’s firing.
“We recognize that there are issues we need to address for the 2020 season,” he said, per Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. “While these decisions are difficult, we have given this significant thought. We are here to put the best possible product on the field for our fans. We thank Pepper for his contributions to the Wildcats and we are looking forward to our home opener this weekend.”
It’s unclear what Johnson’s next move will be. There were talks that he could’ve joined the Giants staff this offseason prior to Big Blue filling it, possibly as the linebackers or defensive line coach. Johnson played for the Giants from 1986-92 and won Super Bowls 21 and 25 with them.