Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson surprised his team’s fan base with his recent decision to stay put.
Johnson was linked to various head coaching gigs and appeared to be a prime candidate for the Washington Commanders’ job. But why did Johnson turn down a shot at a top job?
According to ESPN reporter Jenna Laine, Johnson may have been “turned off” by the composition of the current Commanders ownership group. Johnson reportedly viewed them as “basketball guys” who were a little out of their depth when it came to football. On the other side of things, Laine added that Johnson “didn’t interview well” with the Commanders’ brass.
Was told that Ben Johnson was "turned off" by Commanders ownership, that they're "basketball guys" and felt they were a little too confident in their football opinions. And I also heard that he "didn't interview well." He said, he said, but clearly not a good fit for both sides. https://t.co/negeevYsha
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) February 3, 2024
Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson May Have Been Turned Off By the Washington Commanders’ Ownership Group
The Commanders last year were acquired by a group led by billionaire Josh Harris. The Commanders’ new managing partner also oversees the Philadelphia 76ers, which reportedly did not sit well with Johnson. Adding to the basketball ties is the fact that Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson is also part of the Commanders’ new ownership group.
Washington eventually hired Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to replace Ron Rivera. Quinn accumulated six years of head coaching experience prior to joining the Cowboys in 2021.
The veteran coach was at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to 2020. Quinn tallied a 43-42 record and led the team to the Super Bowl during the 2016 season. We all know how the Falcons’ season ended that year. Quinn was fired after his Falcons started the 2020 campaign 0-5 through its first five weeks.
Ben Johnson Will Run It Back With the Upstart Detroit Lions
During his two seasons as Detroit’s DC, Johnson helped turn the Lions into one of the most dynamic offenses in the entire NFL. The Lions ranked in the top five in passing yards (4,606) , rushing yards (2,311) , and total touchdowns (58) this past year.
The 38-year-old Johnson will likely get more looks as a head coaching candidate in the not-so-distant future. But for now, he’ll remain a key cog in Lions head coach Dan Campbell’s staff.
Detroit appeared to be 30 minutes away from a Super Bowl appearance last week when its offense erupted for 24 points in the first half of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. Johnson and co. will have an entire offseason to fill the holes that were exposed in the 34-31 loss that ended their season.