Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had six requests submitted to interview him for head coaching jobs, of which he did five in about a 48-hour window around the Divisional Round game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Washington Commanders' opening has long looked like it would appeal to Johnson, and that has been reinforced by multiple reports of their interest in him. Boomer Esiason, on his WFAN morning show this week, called Johnson being the new Commanders' head coach a lock. The Commanders are set to have an in-person interview with Johnson next week, after the NFC Championship Game.
On ESPN "Sportscenter" on Friday, Jeff Darlington reinforced the idea that the Lions losing Johnson to the Commanders' head coaching job is a mere formality (h/t to the Detroit Free Press).
"It is a pretty foregone conclusion in Washington, albeit one that we'll have to wait on to see with certainty, that Ben Johnson will wind up being the coach of the Commanders after the Lions' season ends," Darlington said.
Ben Johnson to the Commanders has been easy to see coming
A segment of Lions' fans have been in some level of denial about the prospect of losing Johnson to a head coaching job this year, thinking the longer the team goes in the playoffs the lesser his chances of leaving. As other job openings have been filled that prospect has come closer to possibly being reality.
But it only takes one, and the new ownership and general manager in Washington would surely be willing to wait to hire Johnson if he is indeed their guy. The upcoming second interview, in which a contingent of Commanders people will apparently be coming to Detroit to interview Johnson (and still Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, perhaps) next week, has been easy to point to as a formality.
As Darlington noted, and is obvious, Johnson taking the Commanders' head coaching job is not 100 percent done until it's officially done and he's at a press conference announcing his hiring. But there's a pile of tea leaves that read that way, and at this point it would be far more surprising if Johnson doesn't take the job in Washington than if he does.