Ben Johnson gives players a legit voice in the Detroit Lions offense

Ben Johnson had an incredibly successful first season as the Lions' offensive coordinator, but he fully understands who stirs that drink--the players.
Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY

Ben Johnson's first season as an offensive coordinator was a resounding success, as the Detroit Lions finished third in total yards, fifth in scoring, eighth in passing offense and first (as in fewest) in turnovers.

Johnson made it a priority to cultivate a relationship with Jared Goff, tapping into the quarterback's strengths and likes to give him a voice in the offense. And the results showed it, after Goff's relationship with Rams' head coach Sean McVay had clearly not been like that. Goff being older and more experienced has helped.

Since Johnson took over as the Lions' passing game coordinator during the 2021 season, Goff's 100.9 passer rating is among the best in the NFL.

Johnson is given autonomy over the offense, but he also knows what head coach Dan Campbell wants. Gutsy play-calling in some critical situations last season reflected Campbell's aggressive mentality.

The Detroit Lions' offense is not just Ben Johnson's, or Jared Goff's, offense

Ben Solak of The Ringer recently did a nice piece on Johnson. In it, it was revealed how Johnson asks each Lions' offensive lineman to circle his five favorite run plays after the installation of the game plan each week. Goff has noted how "we continue to add" to the playbook.

On 97.1 The Ticket Tuesday, Goff was asked about other players coming to Johnson with new plays.

"St. Brown is the first one I think of."

"He’s always got creative ideas and things to get himself open. It’s always fun hearing them and a lot of times they’re great," "I think that’s one of Ben’s superpowers, is that he listens. He really does listen, he really will hear you out and if he likes the idea, he’s got no problem implementing it that week and calling it in the game."

Jared Goff

Goff, however obviously, added how Johnson empowering players to bring ideas has implications on the back end.

"When you give power to the players like that and give us some ownership in some of that stuff, you typically make it work as a player when it’s your idea.""

Jared Goff

Ultimately, Johnson and Goff will have their names front and center in the success of the Lions' offense. But looking deeper it's a collaborative effort, with no such thing as a bad idea to bring to the table.

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