Late on Monday night, it was leaked to the media that the Detroit Lions have decided to promote tight ends coach Ben Johnson to the vacant offensive coordinator position after moving on from Anthony Lynn earlier this offseason. Though the Lions themselves have yet to announce the move, it has now been confirmed by multiple, reliable sources. It’s happening.
The move certainly wasn’t all that surprising. Johnson had received a lot of praise all season, and when head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling duties at the midway point of last season, it was Johnson who received an unofficial promotion to passing game coordinator to aid Campbell in directing Jared Goff, add a voice in the play-creation process, and provide some general direction in an offense that was struggling.
The results speak for themselves. While Johnson and Campbell were certainly aided by the return of Taylor Decker, the addition of Josh Reynolds, and a generally easier back half to the schedule, Johnson’s influence on the offense was plain to see by anyone paying attention. The offense wasn’t just better, it looked completely different. Goff was challenging defenses downfield, the Lions’ offensive plays—which had grown stale and predictable—suddenly had creative designs to them. And they figured out a way to effectively use Amon-Ra St. Brown.
That being said, I was interested in what kind of coordinator they were seeking. Per Campbell, they were going to interview some people down at the Senior Bowl. It’s unclear if those interviews ever happened, but it would’ve been nice to see the Lions do a full search and see what else is out there.
With all that in mind, today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you approve of the hire/promotion of Ben Johnson?
My answer: I absolutely do.
Not only did Johnson prove himself to the coaching staff last year, but he also gained the respect of a lot of players, whether it be Goff:
“Ever since I got here, he’s been one the guys that you can kind of rely on as a good voice and understands kind of everything that we’re trying to do.”
“He’s one of those coaches that helped me a ton with being a player and being able to go as my passing game and building things on each other and using different moves to get separation. I can definitely tell you that I was able to take a step in my career because of that.”
Or quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell:
“I‘ve learned a lot from Ben, and not just since the last couple weeks or whatever, but since the day I stepped foot on this facility. I’ve learned a lot from him as far as offensive football, passing game, coaching, and he’s been around some good coaches and I’m fortunate that I get to be around him.”
It’s good business in the NFL to develop your players, but it’s also good business to develop your coaching staff. Those sort of things do not go unnoticed by the rest of the league, and if you happen to lose some of your coaches to promotions elsewhere—see the national interest in Aaron Glenn and Aubrey Pleasant—positional coaches may want to come to Detroit for that opportunity to grow and be seen.
We still don’t know if Johnson will take over play calling duties, but I hope he will. He may not have a lot of experience doing that, but, again, it’s an opportunity for Detroit to develop their coaching staff, and who knows? Maybe Johnson kills it in that role. Plus, it will free Campbell back up to oversee everything.
Overall, it was an expected move, and one well deserved by Johnson. Approved.
Do you approve of the hiring/promotion of Ben Johnson as OC?
This poll is closed