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Notes: Lions’ OC Ben Johnson talks scheme, DJ Chark with The Athletic

The Athletic’s Chris Burke and Nick Baumgardner sat down with Johnson to watch film, and learn more on how the Lions can take the next step in 2022.

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Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

A lot has been made of the stark contrast between the way the Detroit Lions’ offense looked during the first half of the 2021 season as opposed to the back half.

During those first several weeks, the Lions' offense looked as though it were stuck in the proverbial mud. Quarterback Jared Goff looked extremely uncomfortable and appeared to have little to no rapport with any of his pass catchers. At the time, Anthony Lynn was directing the offense, and when that pairing clearly was not working, coach Dan Campbell made the difficult decision to take over play-calling duties.

However, what we didn’t know at the time was that then tight ends coach, Ben Johnson, was about to step up in a big way. He played an integral role in reshaping the passing offense to better fit Goff, and it paid dividends on the field, with the quarterback finishing the 2021 season on a high note.

“I think Ben’s a rock star, man,” Campbell said of the 36-year-old offensive coordinator. “He’s a young guy, but he’s kind of gone a little longer, harder road to get to where he’s at. He’s been around some really good coaches, now, some guys who have coached some pretty good quarterbacks. Just being around Mike Sherman when I was with him down there (in Miami). Joe Philbin, who was with (Aaron) Rodgers. Then he’s with (Adam) Gase, who had (Peyton) Manning and those guys. So he understands quarterback play well. He was with Zac Taylor, who was with me in Miami. We were all together there in Miami. So, he understands it well.”

Johnson joined The Athletic’s Chris Burke and Nick Baumgardner to go over some offensive film and get a look into the mind of Detroit’s new offensive coordinator. The article specifically dives into what receivers DJ Chark and Josh Reynolds bring to the table, with insights on philosophy, and how Johnson sees the game.

You can read the full article here.

And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:

  • Who remembers those “I - spy” books back in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Shoutout to the Lions for the bit of nostalgia.

  • Alex Kay of the Bleacher Report highlights five rookies around the NFL that appear ready to shine once training camp ramps up in the coming weeks.

  • PFF offers their best guess for several Lions’ players season yardage totals.

  • Jamaal Williams content, because why not?