They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, yet somehow the Detroit Lions have managed to pull of something even more unlikely in two consecutive offseasons: they’re retaining Ben Johnson. That’s a big deal, and speaks volumes to the type of environment that has been cultivated in Allen Park. It means continuity for scheme, players, and staff alike. There are many beneficiaries of this decision, but who’s the biggest winner?
Question of the day: Who benefits the most from Ben Johnson staying in Detroit?
I think the easy answer here is Jared Goff, but there’s no telling how Jared Goff fares in a Ben Johnson-less offense in Detroit. After all, Goff’s revival began following Anthony Lynn’s departure midway through 2021. In that time, the offense was still a shared duty between Dan Campbell and Ben Johnson.
My answer: To me, the biggest beneficiary is not a singular person, but rather the offensive line. Rumor was spreading that if Ben Johnson left, then Hank Fraley may leave with him to be offensive coordinator.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Fraley would be an even bigger loss than Johnson would. While they’re both at the top end of their position, good offensive coordinators seem to be much more plentiful than good offensive line coaches. I think @KeuhnObserve on X put it best:
Losing Fraley was arguably as big a concern as losing Ben. Great OL coaches are hard to find. There’s like 5 of them.— KuehnObservations (@KuehnObserve) January 30, 2024
Ultimately, both would have been a big loss, and everyone in Allen Park is a winner since Ben Johnson is back, and presumably Hank Fraley isn’t going anywhere either.