Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is garnering buzz as a head coaching candidate, but he naturally does not want to talk about it.
Taking a poor offense to a higher level as a top-10 scoring unit in his first year as a coordinator and play caller, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is getting plenty of buzz as a head coaching candidate.
The Lions have navigated injuries to key players all season to field a productive offense. Johnson has not been immune from criticism at times, but he has overtaken defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn as the top head coaching candidate on the Lions’ coaching staff.
The Lions are a top-12 offense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and they’ve scored at least 24 points in eight of 11 games this season.
Johnson had his regular weekly media availability on Thursday. The rampant buzz around him as a head coaching candidate was an easy question to pose, and he batted it back quickly.
"I don’t even want to talk about it,” Johnson said. “…100% of my focus is on my current job, point blank. Point blank. All I care about is beating the Jacksonville Jaguars.”"
Ben Johnson has climb the coaching ranks quickly
The 36-year old Johnson started his coaching career as a grad assistant at Boston College in 2009. He made the jump to the NFL as an offensive assistant in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins, where he crossed paths with a tight ends coach named Dan Campbell.
Johnson moved on to the Lions as a quality control coach under Matt Patricia in 2019, and he became tight ends coach in 2020. When Campbell became the head coach in Detroit in 2021, he retained Johnson.
Johnson took on the role as passing game coordinator after Anthony Lynn was fired as offensive coordinator in the middle of last season, as Campbell took over play calling. The success of the Lions’ offense late last season set the stage for Johnson to become the offensive coordinator.
Johnson was not going to say anything other than how focused he is on his current job, and firmly try to set aside talk of possible head coaching opportunities after the season. But the head coaching buzz is not likely going away, even if he doesn’t care to entertain it.