Report: Ben Johnson informs teams he’s staying with Lions

NFL: DEC 18 Lions at Jets
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Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will continue to coordinate the Lions’ offense, for at least one more year.

Johnson has informed teams potentially interested in his services as a head coach for 2023 that he’ll be staying put, according to NFL Media.

The Panthers, Colts, and Texans had been linked to Johnson.

That’s very good news for the Lions, since it means that coach Dan Campbell won’t need to find a replacement for Johnson.

The 36-year-old former North Carolina quarterback started coaching in 2009. He arrived in Detroit in 2019, as a member of Matt Patricia’s staff. He served as tight ends coach in 2020 and 2021 before becoming offensive coordinator this year, replacing Anthony Lynn.

It’s being assumed that Johnson will have chances to become a head coach in 2024. Of course, we thought that a year ago about Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich; he’s now in danger of being let go by the Bucs.

Johnson became a hot candidate because Detroit’s offensive performed better than expected in 2022, and because quarterback Jared Goff played well enough to secure his future with the team. The job of NFL head coach requires a much different skill set.

Some coordinators can perform in the much different job of head coach, and some can’t. There’s only one way to find out — the coordinator has to try the job.

And for every Sean Payton, there’s a Nathaniel Hackett. Where Ben Johnson falls on that spectrum won’t be determined for a year, at a minimum.

33 responses to “Report: Ben Johnson informs teams he’s staying with Lions

  1. Players and coaches want to come back? I’ve been a fan of the Lions for 30 plus years and this is something completely foreign to us. I kinda like it haha

  2. Michael Mullins says:
    January 17, 2023 at 8:15 pm
    Players and coaches want to come back? I’ve been a fan of the Lions for 30 plus years and this is something completely foreign to us. I kinda like it haha

    ——————————————

    Over 50 years for me and I agree. This is a weird feeling that I love.

  3. Let’s be honest: Dan Campbell is a helluva head coach. Even his assistants want to fall on grenades for him. I look at him and wonder why the Raiders couldn’t have hired somebody like him?

  4. Why the obsession with Sean “Bountygate” Payton? The guy had a hall of famer QB and still had to cheat to win one Super Bowl.

  5. You can bust Hackett’s chops all day, but at least he stayed out of the Vicodin locker…

  6. Why? A head coaching job contract is probably $60 million over 4 or 5 years. He could make enough to never work again. Waiting a year to take another head coach job is a gamble. It might not be better than Houston or Indy

  7. The Lions will need some playoff wins for him to maximize his value. Expectations for next season are huge.

  8. As a Lions fan, this is huge news. Continuity on offense will provide stability as a search for the same on the Defensive side of the ball continues. Excellent news, green arrow up IMO..

  9. 30+ years ago I walked out of the Silverdome with my brothers after the Lions dismantled Dallas in the playoffs and we all agreed that big things were around the corner. Fast forward to the present and it looks like our team has finally turned that corner. It feels legit and having Ben Johnson back in the fold should help the Lions take that next leap forward in 2023.

  10. Imagine turning down millions of extra dollars and to be at the pinnacle of your profession to stick with a team quarterbacked by Jared Goff. I like the Lions, but it’s Goff. This has a strong chance of not turning out well for him.

  11. He should. That team is already turning into a problem for the NFC and that’s before they use those sweet draft picks in a few months.

  12. I am really happy about this. Some people get really invested in building something and want to see the results of their work and I feel that is what is happening with Johnson. The Lions are in the middle of doing something great and I understand someone not wanting to leave that opportunity. I am an Eagles and Bengals fan but I have loved what has been happening in Detroit since his first year. When he was hired i was skeptical because i didnt really know much about him, but even that first year anyone cud tell they were doing it right. Idk how Johnson will do as a head coach(a lot depends on the situation) but if he can be the OC for this team and they can make the playoffs and win, that will be something he can take pride in his whole career.

  13. seanx50 says:
    January 17, 2023 at 8:59 pm
    Why? A head coaching job contract is probably $60 million over 4 or 5 years. He could make enough to never work again. Waiting a year to take another head coach job is a gamble. It might not be better than Houston or Indy
    ——–
    Because there are some people in this world that actually care about the work they do and don’t do things just for money. In this case, he recognizes that he needs more seasoning before taking the big seat and Detroit is the place to get it. He’s obviously very confident in his future employability and he should be.

  14. Ben Johnson is no different than any man in that locker room. He’s not backing down on anything he’s told players all year long. He compliments MCDC’s philosophy along with the players. It’s ONE PRIDE for a reason. Everybody on board is playing chess. Thinking ahead. With a young team as talented as this you DONT play checkers. Chess is being played in Detroit

  15. Monster news. This guy has that offense dialed in. They should only be better next year with another year under their belt.

  16. That is the smart move that team is on the rise. Have plent of draft capital. Next year is gonna be fun

  17. For as much as this will help with the X’s and O’s, to me the biggest impact is the message it sends to the team. They expect perseverance and commitment until the job is done. The job isn’t done here – we didn’t even make the playoffs. Ben choosing to announce he’s staying is walking the talk. If I had to guess, I’d bet the Lions didn’t even have to adjust his comp.

    I think Campbell coming out saying directly that he’d do anything to help Ben get an HC job was one more demonstration of that selflessness that has become the culture here over the last two years.

    Sky’s the limit in ‘23 after the team adds pieces to the D.

  18. Campbell seems like a tremendous leader and Johnson a terrific OC. That team was playing great down the stretch finishing up 8-2 and would have been scary opponent for anyone in the playoffs. Unfortunately the refs handed Seattle that win over the Rams in Week 18 so we didn’t get to see it.

  19. seanx50 says:
    Why? A head coaching job contract is probably $60 million over 4 or 5 years. He could make enough to never work again. Waiting a year to take another head coach job is a gamble. It might not be better than Houston or Indy

    New head coaches don’t make that kind of money, no, and if you manage to get yourself fired after a season or two, that tends to be about the end of your near-term prospects to get another gig. They certainly make (for normal folk like us) life-changing money, but it’s a very different thing to be a one-and-done vs someone like (since you mention the Colts) Tony Dungy where you make a career of it, and then have follow-on prospects in broadcasting or consulting. Johnson is in his mid-30s. He has time.

  20. Good for the Lions and for him—the last thing the league needs is another whiz-kid super coordinator LARPing as a head coach. Besides, what is the best outcome someone like Johnson could hope for if he left: taking the Panthers to 5-12? These young coaches should recognize that sometimes being part of something special is more important than trying to maximize your career earnings or scale the pole as quickly as possible because feckless owners are willing to let you.

  21. Lions should be able to add a couple veteran pieces in FA and bolster that defense.

    Seems the NFC North will be running through Detroit, we have seen the Vikings aren’t anywhere near as good as their record indicates

  22. The simple fact alone that Ben Johnson is the only real thing Matt Patricia and Dan Campbell agreed on is reason to believe he’s the real deal. He’s gonna get a chance to continue using the playbook he built around the Lions personnel, along with any added pieces from the draft or FA. Oh and a healthy Jameson Williams with a full offseason program? Sorry, Ben Johnson just got these toys and he’s not ready to let anyone else play with them yet.

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