Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is in line for some head coaching interviews, and one in particular now looks like a like.
With how good the Detroit Lions offense has looked for the majority of the season, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is lined up to get some attention for head coaching openings. The Denver Broncos feel like an easy one, but if they lean toward candidates with previous head coaching experience he would fall down or completely off their list.
The Lions have the league’s fifth-highest scoring offense (27.1 points per game), sandwiched between the two teams who play Monday night to finish Week 17 (Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals). They’re fourth in total yards per game (383.6 yards per game) entering the final game of the Week 17 slate.
The Carolina Panthers played well enough after firing Matt Rhule to give interim head coach Steve Wilks a chance at the permanent job. But as they’ve cycled through quarterbacks, and owner David Tepper’s previous comments about his desire to have a franchise quarterback (or to have one to develop), offensive minds may take some priority in the search.
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson seems like a lock to get an interview with the Panthers
On Sunday morning, Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network had a look at some head coaching situations around the league.
Here’s part of what they said about the Panthers.
"The turnaround has positioned Wilks, 53, as a strong candidate for the full-time job. He’s well-regarded and liked within the building. However, Carolina still intends to go through a full search process that also includes other in-demand candidates. Owner David Tepper’s top priorities have been solidifying the quarterback position and the offense, so expect the Panthers to interview all of the rising offensive gurus."
If you were making a list of “the rising offensive gurus”, Johnson would be high on it. Pelissero and Rapoport also suggest the Panthers will interview all of them, for whatever that’s worth.
Again, Johnson likely getting interviews for head coaching jobs doesn’t mean he’ll be hired away from the Lions.
It’s also possible he doesn’t want to leave just yet, and will wait for a job he sees as a better fit if there isn’t one out there he’d take this time around.
But as long as the Lions’ offense is as good as it has been this year, buzz around the potential Johnson leaves Detroit for a head coaching job isn’t going away. It’s best to get used to it, and see it broadly as a good thing that other organizations are noticing what the Lions are doing.