As it stands at this moment, there are eight head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has been requested to interview for five of them, while Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has received four requests (track all of them here).
Neither Johnson nor Glenn are strangers to this process. Both have interviewed for head coaching jobs in the past couple of years, but the sheer number of requests this coaching cycle shows how serious of candidates they are for 2024.
On Thursday, the two expressed gratitude for the consideration but wanted to make it clear their focus was on the team’s upcoming playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams.
“I’m flattered by the interview requests, I really am,” Glenn said. “And man I do not want this to sound like coach-speak, but I try to focus on the main thing for this team, for this organization, because this is a big deal for us.”
“It’s awesome, quite an honor,” Johnson said. “But I honestly haven’t thought about it beyond anything that’s going on this week.”
Glenn said he plans on fulfilling all four of his current requests, but Johnson said he hasn’t made that decision yet.
Johnson seems like the more likely candidate to get hired this offseason, as the Lions offense has been at the forefront of their identity the past two years. Detroit finished both the 2022 and 2023 seasons as the fifth-best scoring offense. Beyond his skills as a play designer and caller, Johnson believes he’s also learned so much about being a leader—thanks to having the prototype of leadership Dan Campbell around.
“He’s the best leader I’ve been around regardless of whichever sport I’ve been a part of,” Johnson said. “It’s really impressive what he’s been able to do. Being true to himself, demanding, he’s results-driven, but yet his way of delivering and message and getting it across, what to say, how to say it at the right time. I mean, it’s really unique and it’s special.”
Glenn’s leadership has always been one of his strengths. As a former player and a great teacher, the Lions defensive coordinator has always had the respect of his players, as recently evidenced by him receiving the highest approval grade from his players in an NFLPA survey.
As for what Glenn has learned in Detroit that he could take with him to a potential coaching gig, he’s realized the importance of cooperation and communication between the general manager, head coach, and owner—a key component of Detroit’s spectacular turnaround.
“Making sure that, that vision, that collective vision is the same,” Glenn said. “Because once that’s intact and all three of you guys, or women, are saying the same thing, that feeds down to the staff, then that feeds down to the players. And, man, they just hear the same vision over and over again.”
Both Lions coordinators won’t be able to be virtually interviewed until at least three days after the team’s Wild Card race. If Detroit is no longer in the playoffs after that, Johnson and Glenn can interview in person after the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Be sure to follow along with all the latest news in our offseason interview tracker.