Detroit Lions promote tight ends coach Ben Johnson to offensive coordinator

Lions parted with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in January

Tight ends coach Ben Johnson of the Detroit Lions looks on during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field on October 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) (Rey Del Rio, 2021 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have promoted tight ends coach Ben Johnson to fill their vacant offensive coordinator position.

Johnson, 35, stepped into a bigger role midway through the 2021 season after head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling duties from then-offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

The Lions and Lynn mutually parted ways at the end of the season.

Johnson joined the Lions as a quality control coach under Matt Patricia in 2019 and started coaching tight ends in 2020. Campbell retained him last offseason when he took over as head coach.

Before he started coaching in 2009, Johnson played quarterback at North Carolina and graduated in 2008. He spent the next three years on the Boston College coaching staff and then moved on to the NFL.

From 2012-2018, Johnson worked in several roles with the Miami Dolphins, coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends.

The Lions are coming off a 3-13-1 season, but the offense showed some signs of life down the stretch. Rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown emerged as a reliable weapon, and D’Andre Swift continued his ascent out of the backfield.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson remains a mismatch in the passing game, though he missed the final month of the season due to a thumb injury.

Most importantly, the Lions are built for success up front. Frank Ragnow is one of the top centers in the league, and rookie Penei Sewell excelled at right tackle. Taylor Decker is entrenched on the left side, and Jonah Jackson represented Detroit as a replacement in the Pro Bowl.

Johnson has his work cut out for him, but the Lions have some building blocks in place. Also, with two first-round picks (No. 2 overall and either No. 31 or No. 32, depending on the Super Bowl outcome) and an early second-rounder (No. 34 overall), the Lions have opportunities to upgrade further, especially at wide receiver.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.