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LA Wildcats fire defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson

The first coordinator firing in the XFL happened sooner than you would expect.

New York Jets defensive line coach Pepper Johnson against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Wildcats gave up four touchdown passes to the Houston Roughnecks in Week 1 and before the team even got to play a home game, their defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson has been let go. Head coach Winston Moss also released linebacker Anthony Johnson, who was a team captain for the Wildcats.

This shakeup comes out of the blue despite the Roughnecks putting up the most points in the league Week 1 and may have been brewing before the game, but that is total conjecture at this point. But to release a starting linebacker and fire the defensive coordinator after just one game isn’t the best optics.

Moss is an old school NFL linebacker who has mostly been a linebackers coach in the NFL, so he likely doesn’t take much. His defensive background could lead him to take over the coordination position, but he could also look elsewhere, especially as Johnson also was linebackers coach.

Johnson also played linebacker in the NFL and was a defensive coordinator with the Patriots under Bill Belichick, winning three Super Bowls with the team through 14 seasons. Losing a starter and that much NFL experience from the defensive side is a tough way to start the season, especially after getting blown out in Houston 37-17.