Many people believed that the Lions were the best team to miss the playoffs in the 2022 season. Yes, you heard that right, the Detroit Lions. After many years of below average football, the Lions were finally able to put together a solid season, even after starting the season 1-6. They finished the season 8-2 and in Dan Campbell’s second season at the helm showed significant improvement and resolve. A huge reason for the Lions success this year has been the resurgence of Jared Goff. Goff finished the season passing for 4438 yards and tossed 29 touchdowns while finishing the season with a 99.3 passer rating. That is impressive, but let’s look at the main catalyst behind Goff’s and the Detroit Lions offense monster year.
Yes, the Lions had one of the better offensive lines in football and also had weapons such as Jamal Williams, D’andre Swift, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. But in my opinion, none of these weapons gel and Goff doesn’t perform at the level he did without the help of Ben Johnson. Johnson spent his first year as the Lions offensive coordinator and the results show for themselves. The Lions finished 4th in yards per game and 5th in points per game. Within the organization, Johnson is known as a brainiac and has a genius mind for football. An interesting note, Johnson graduated from the University of North Carolina and double majored in Computer Science and Mathematics. That is impressive alone, not to add the fact that he played four seasons as quarterback for the Tar Heels. However, as is the case in this league if you are successful as a coordinator you will be looked at for vacant head coaching positions. And as of today, Johnson reportedly has 3 interviews lined up with the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Carolina Panthers. With how explosive the offense was this year for the Lions, it will be hard for the Lions to hold onto Johnson.
On the other end of the ball, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was a little overshadowed. Glenn had recently just completed his second season as the Lions defensive coordinator. He is well respected around the league and has had plenty of experience with 8 years of coaching in the league. The Lions had a rough year on defense. They finished last in the league in total yards allowed and gave up 25 points per game. But just looking at the stats can be a little misleading when searching for a head coaching role. I believe Glenn is being pursued for his leadership abilities. As mentioned, he is reportedly well-respected around the league and is known for his people and leadership skills. If Glenn does get a job, look for him to take on a Mike Tomlin like role and be more of a figurehead instead of play calling on one side of the ball. Glenn reportedly has one interview scheduled with the Colts.
The Lions coaching staff could look completely different next year. One constant will be Dan Campbell, but he will need to work hard to find replacements for Johnson and Glenn if they do get hired elsewhere. Johnson will be a hot piece this winter, Glenn not so much. I believe Johnson will find a head coach opportunity somewhere while Glenn may have to wait another season and show improvement with his defense. Either way, the Lions should be competing next year as long as Dan Campbell is at the helm.