Ben Johnson ready for the next step
Ben Johnson would be Carolina Panthers head coach right now had David Tepper got his way during last year's hiring cycle. The owner was confident he could land the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator. However, a late change of heart saw him remain with the NFC North outfit to gain more experience before leaping.
This was a masterstroke from Johnson. He's built his lofty reputation even further through exceptional offensive strategies and blocking concepts. If all goes well today, the Lions will reach their first NFC conference championship game in decades.
The Panthers virtually interviewed Johnson on Friday. Four other teams also spoke with the play-caller. Wherever he goes next, Lions' head coach Dan Campbell is confident he's well prepared for the challenges that await after deciding to stick around in 2023 based on comments via USA Today Sports.
"It’s a credit to him, man. Not many people would do that. But that’s how he viewed it. It’s an experience for him. It’s a chance to grow, and it’s a chance to grow with people that he appreciates being around. I think it’s made him a better coach. You learn things as you would being in that position, yeah. There’s that, but I think it’s made him a more well-rounded coach. I just think everything has grown. I think he’s got a very good grasp of what we do [with] roster management. I think when you do that, and you get in that, and it’s like, ‘OK, there could be a next step. I’m not ready for that. In my head, I don’t want to do that yet. Yes, I’m a better coordinator,’ but it’s also……he’s starting to look for and ask these questions about roster, game-day, building a team, what you’re looking for, front of the room. And I think it served him well."- Dan Campbell via USA Today Sports
This is the coup Tepper is likely looking for. Whether Johnson believes enough in the Panthers' potential compared to others across the league showing significant interest in his services is another matter.