They surely won’t be the only ones, but the Houston Texans have reportedly submitted a request to interview Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for their head coaching vacancy.
As head coaching searches start for NFL teams who have openings, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is in line for plenty of interest. The Carolina Panthers feel like a lock to want to interview him, but they won’t be the first.
As first reported by Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network and confirmed by multiple Lions’ reporters, the Houston Texans have submitted a request to interview Johnson for their head coaching opening.
Also on Houston’s list of initial interview requests, according to Wilson, is Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Philadelphia Eagles offensive and defensive coordinators Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon.
Earlier on Monday, Lions head coach Dan Campbell told the media he hadn’t yet received any requests to interview Johnson but was not going to be shocked if they came. Within a couple hours of Campbell’s podium session, the Texans’ request came in.
Lions players know Ben Johnson will be in demand
Johnson, in his first year as an offensive coordinator and play caller, took the Lions offense from a bottom-tier unit in 2021 to a top-five offense in points and total yardage. His creativity showed through often, and regularly in some really big moments down the stretch of the season.
In the locker room on Monday, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell tried in vain (and of course jokingly) to turn teams looking for a new head coach away from Johnson.
"Ben Johnson is really not that good,”. “He’s not. I feel like, yeah, our players make him better. So, not really worried about that. Just wanted to put that out there. Y’all don’t want Ben Johnson.”"
The Texans went 3-13-1 this season, and they fired Lovie Smith after one season late Sunday night. They will be looking for their fourth head coach in as many years. David Culley was fired after last season, and they hired Smith. As much of a mess as they seem to be in some respects, they will have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and there is some good talent on the roster (Laremy Tunsil, Dameon Pierce, Jalen Pitre).
The Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos, the Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals are also looking for a new head coach as of late Monday afternoon. So this first interview request for Johnson probably won’t be the only one he gets.