Lions' OC Ben Johnson gets heady praise from Bills defensive coordinator

Ben Johnson has become one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL, and a defensive coordinator has become the driver of that bandwagon.

Ben Johnson parlayed a good run to end the 2021 season as the Detroit Lions' passing game coordinator into becoming the offensive coordinator in 2022. The Lions have had a top-five scoring and yardage offense in both of his seasons calling plays, and he has been a hot head coaching candidate in each of the last two hiring cycles.

Johnson has acknowledged a particular area the Lions' offense struggled in last year, while noting the improvement that came there as the season progressed. If Jameson Williams is able to put it all together this year, Johnson's playbook could expand even more and the Detroit offense could have another level in it.

Opposing defensive coordinators have surely grown to respect what Johnson does. Bobby Babich is entering his first year as the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator, and his first year as a defensive coordinator period, and the Lions play the Bills again this season. The last matchup between the two teams was on Thanksgiving Day in 2022, and Babich was Buffalo's linebackers coach that day.

The Bills' defense was the second-best scoring defense in the league that year (17.9 points allowed per game), and the Lions scored 25 points with 326 yards of offense against them that day.

Bills' defensive coordinator has very high praise for Ben Johnson

On a recent episode of the Centered on Buffalo podcast, hosted by former Bills' center Eric Wood, Babich was a guest and he was asked which NFL offensive coordinator is the toughest to prepare for.

"Ben Johnson. It was funny, we were just having this conversation today," Babich said. "I think Detroit does a great job, and this is from years ago, they do a lot of things and they do them well. Which that is hard to do and is hard to prepare for."

Though he's not to Johnson's level just yet, Babich, 40, is a young coach on the rise who could be a future head coach himself. He'll get a chance to shape a game plan for Johnson and the Lions' offense in Week 15 this season, with full prior acknowledgement of the challenge that will be.


Next. 6 potential head coaching jobs for Ben Johnson in 2025. 6 potential head coaching jobs for Ben Johnson in 2025. dark