Ranking the 6 shortlisted candidates for Panthers head coach in 2023

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Steve Wilks
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Steve Wilks /
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Carolina Panthers
(Junfu Han/The Detroit Free Press via IMAGN Content Services) Ben Johnson /

Carolina Panthers will target Ben Johnson

One of the hottest emerging names in this current cycle is Ben Johnson. The Detroit Lions offense is among the best in football thanks to his creative play-calling, which was on full display in masterful fashion during their shock victory at the Green Bay Packers in Week 18.

Johnson ticks plenty of boxes. He is young, inventive, and is learning how to lead from Dan Campbell, who is doing an incredible job turning the Lions into a respectable franchise once again.

According to the Panthers on Tap podcast, team owner David Tepper was casting his eye in Johnson’s direction weeks ago. And his reputation has only grown since after a stunning end to Detroit’s campaign.

One thing Johnson doesn’t have is legitimate NFL head coaching experience. But that’s not putting off multiple teams from bringing him in for interviews.

In addition to the Carolina Panthers, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts also threw their hat into the ring. So he could have a choice of positions depending on how he interviews in the coming weeks.

If Tepper decades this is the guy, then he has the financial resources to make it happen. But with one season of calling plays, the risk factor is obvious.