Johnson named defensive line coach

The Denver Broncos on Wednesday named Bill Johnson defensive line coach. Johnson joins the Broncos after working as the Atlanta Falcons' defensive line coach for the last six seasons.

The Denver Broncos have named Bill Johnson defensive line coach.

Johnson joins the Broncos after working as the Atlanta Falcons' defensive line coach for the last six seasons. The 51-year-old spent his first 21 years in coaching as a college assistant, including stints at Texas A&M, Arkansas and Miami (Fla.), and has a combined 27 years of coaching experience.

As the Falcons' defensive line coach from 2001-06, Johnson helped the club post the seventh-highest sack total in the NFL (third most in the NFC) with 242 quarterback takedowns during that period. Atlanta twice ranked in the league's top 10 in both fewest rushing yards per game and fewest rushing yards per carry allowed (2004 and '06) with Johnson on its staff.

Johnson instructed two Pro Bowl selections with Atlanta in defensive end Patrick Kerney (2004) and defensive tackle Rod Coleman (2005). Coleman's 28 sacks under Johnson's tutelage from 2004-06 marked the highest total by an NFL defensive tackle, 7.5 more than the next closest player, and tied for eighth among all players. Kerney tied for ninth in the league with 53 sacks while working with Johnson from 2001-06 and three times recorded at least 10 sacks in a season (2001-02 and '04).

In 2006, Johnson helped Atlanta rank ninth in the NFL in rushing defense (103.6 ypg.) for the club's lowest such figure since the 1998 campaign. The Falcons ranked sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.8) in 2006, also their best average in eight years, and allowed only four individual 100-yard rushers for the season.

Johnson's defensive line paved the way for the Falcons to lead the NFL in sacks for the first time in team history with 48 in 2004. Atlanta won the NFC South that season and advanced to the NFC Championship Game for only the second time in club annals.

Before joining the Falcons in 2001, Johnson spent 21 seasons as a college assistant coach and participated in eight bowl games, including three Cotton Bowls, one Sugar Bowl and one Orange Bowl.

Johnson was on the University of Arkansas' staff in 2000 as defensive line coach, a position he also held at the school from 1990-91. He coached the defensive line at Texas A&M University under R.C. Slocum for eight seasons from 1992-99 and worked in that capacity at Louisiana Tech University from 1988-89.

Johnson worked as an assistant coach at the University of Miami in 1987 under Jimmy Johnson and played a part in the school winning the National Championship. The Hurricanes went 12-0 that season and were voted National Champions after their 20-14 victory over top-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Before joining Miami's coaching staff, Johnson spent two years as an assistant at McNeese State University (Lake Charles, La.). He entered the coaching profession as a graduate assistant at Northwestern State University (Natchitoches, La.) in 1980 and served in that capacity for two seasons before coaching defensive ends/linebackers at the school from 1982-84.

Johnson was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter in football at Northwestern State. Johnson was born on June 23, 1955, and has two teenage children: Billy and Abby.


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