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Lions OC Ben Johnson does NOT win Assistant Coach of the Year

The Associated Press chose San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans instead

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL Honors is taking place on Thursday night in Arizona, awarding some of the best performances of the 2022 season. The first award of the night leaked before the event even started, and it’s bad news for Detroit Lions fans. The Assistant Coach of the Year award did not go to Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, but rather San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

In his second year as 49ers defensive coordinator, Ryans headed the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense that also ranked second in yards allowed and turnovers forced. One could certainly argue Ryans had a lot of elite talent to work with, including Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Jimmie Ward, and Talanoa Hufanga. Ryans’ work was eventually parlayed into a promotion, as he was recently hired as the Houston Texans head coach this offseason.

Meanwhile, Johnson helped the Lions produce the NFL’s fifth-highest scoring offense with a few cast-off pieces, including Jared Goff, DJ Chark, Jamaal Williams and Josh Reynolds. Williams eclipsed 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and broke the Lions rushing touchdown record (and led the NFL). Goff saw his career resurrected, putting up numbers that challenged those of his back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. In total, the Lions had four Pro Bowlers on offense.

While Johnson didn’t walk away with the award, Lions fans can sleep well at night knowing that he could very well win the award next year. Whereas the 49ers won’t have the luxury of having Ryans around another year.

UPDATE: Per the Associated Press, Ben Johnson placed second in voting. He received a total of 37 of 50 votes, with 11 of those being first-place votes. Here’s the breakdown between Johnson and Ryans:

DeMeco Ryans:

  • 35 first place votes
  • 9 second place votes
  • 4 third place votes
  • 206 total

Ben Johnson:

  • 11 first place votes
  • 16 second place votes
  • 10 third place votes

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