Ben Johnson has had success leading the Lions’ offense this year, and he has made another list of potential future NFL head coaches.
The Detroit Lions’ offense has fallen off since being the highest-scoring in the NFL through Week 4, but it’s still sits pretty good in Ben Johnson’s first year as a coordinator and play caller. When more prominent pieces are healthy and the Lions eventually have a quarterback with star potential, then things will be very interesting.
Johnson’s stock is rising in NFL circles, as reflected by his being on a list of future head coaches a couple months ago.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, informed by conversations with people around the league, is out with his annual list of young coaches to watch. Being under 45 years old is the criteria to make the list, and Pelissero dives into the college ranks as well to reveal some names that surprise sometimes.
The 36-year old Johnson is not a surprise inclusion on Pelissero’s list, but he is there.
How quickly will Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson be a head coach?
Here’s Pelissero’s blurb about Johnson.
"Those who have worked with Johnson say he has one of the NFL’s sharpest minds. (How many guys walk on to the football team as a quarterback while earning degrees in math and computer science, as Johnson did at North Carolina?) So, it’s no surprise the Lions’ offense found life midway through the 2021 season when Johnson and head coach Dan Campbell — who spent four years with Johnson on the Dolphins’ staff — took the reins. Johnson previously has coached quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends, and he has a good feel for the whole picture. Is he ready to run his own show after one year with a coordinator title? That’s unknown. But his reputation figures to get him in the room sooner than later."
Johnson’s experience coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends was definitely helpful to his step up to being an offensive coordinator. And it will be helpful to his next step of becoming a head coach–if/when that comes.
Johnson may get some head coaching interviews after this season, if he wants to take those opportunities. Getting a head coaching job after just one year as a coordinator is a separate conversation, but Johnson is getting noticed quickly.