5 dark horse candidates to replace Ben Johnson as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator

  • Ben Johnson looks like a lock to leave for a head coaching job
  • So who are some dark horse candidates to replace him as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator?

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2. Ken Dorsey, former Bills offensive coordinator

There were certainly some issues with Dorsey's play-calling in Buffalo at times this year, like abandoning the ground game when it was working. After a bad loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 10, marked by errors across the board, Bills' head coach Sean McDermott made his offensive coordinator the scapegoat.

In 2022, his first year as Buffalo's offensive coordinator after Brian Daboll left to take the New York Giants' head coaching job, Dorsey guided an offense that was second in total yardage, second in scoring, seventh in passing and seventh in rushing. Most of those results were not much different this year (seventh in total yards, eighth in points, seventh in passing at the time of his firing), but rushing volume and production was down. Josh Allen's turnover issues were a difference maker this year, which was clearly (not) Dorsey's fault.

As Dan Campbell was shaping his new coaching staff in Detroit, Dorsey interviewed for the Lions' offensive coordinator post that Anthony Lynn eventually got in 2021. It was easy to consider him a candidate for the job again a year later, before Johnson was eventually elevated to officially replace Lynn.

Maybe Campbell takes advantage of a mulligan after hiring the poor fit that Lynn proved to be. Dorsey has interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator post, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to interview him for their offensive coordinator opening. The Lions could land on his interview docket fairly quickly if Johnson does leave.

Update, Jan, 28, 6:35 p.m. ET: The Browns have hired Dorsey as their new offensive coordinator.