Ben Johnson decided to stay on as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator rather than continue interviewing for head coaching jobs, and Jared Goff knows how huge that is.
In line with post-bye week changes to the offense in 2021, Jared Goff played very well late in his first season as a Detroit Lion (107.1 passer rating over his final five starts). Ben Johnson’s elevation from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator last offseason, after he stepped in as passing game coordinator, was natural.
After an offseason where Johnson made an effort to foster a relationship with Goff, and design an offense around the quarterback’s strengths, the results showed.
The Lions started the 2022 season as one of the top-scoring offenses in the league. After struggles for a couple games, they finished as top-five yardage and scoring offense for the season.
Johnson naturally got some looks in this head coaching cycle. But before what would have been his third interview for a job, and he was tabbed as a top candidate for the Carolina Panthers, he withdrew his name from consideration for head coaching jobs. Of course he got a nice bump in pay to stay with the Lions.
Jared Goff knows how huge it is for him that Ben Johnson stayed
Goff had one of the best seasons of his career this year, finishing top-10 in the NFL in passing yards (4,438; sixth), touchdowns (29; tied for fifth), passer rating (99.3; seventh), QBR (61.1; fifth) and yards per attempt (7.6; tied for sixth). Credit easily goes to Johnson for his big role in that, and it was a full-season build off the good finish to 2021 for Goff.
Goff did not throw an interception after Week 9 this season, and he will enter next season with the fifth-longest interceptionless streak in league history (324 pass attempts).
Goff talked to Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ website about Johnson’s being back with the Lions.
"It’s huge having him back and being able to have some good continuity heading into the offseason and having a guy that knows us and we know him. Don’t have to learn a new system and all the success we were able to have last year, it’s huge.”"
Goff aptly described the importance of Johnson’s return for the 2023 season, using the word huge twice in the span of about 50 words. Overall continuity is definitely huge for the Lions’ offense, and being able to keep working with Johnson is just as huge for Goff personally.
A year from now, Johnson may have left the Lions for a head coaching job. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves for one. But Goff will enjoy having the same play caller in 2023, and go from there.