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Ben Johnson Returns To Detroit, Washington and Seattle Sign Quinn and Macdonald

For the second straight year, Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson has opted to stay with Detroit instead of taking a head coaching job elsewhere. Johnson received a raise to remain in Detroit last season and it is suggested that it was enough for him to remain once again.

Johnson has been with the Lions organization since 2019 in roles such as offensive quality control coach, tight ends coach, passing game coordinator, and now offensive coordinator. He is one of the most important pieces that has led Detroit to become one of the NFL’s best teams. 

Johnson announced on Tuesday that he was opting to stay with the Lions, although he was almost certainly going to be offered the head coaching job for the Washington Commanders. This came as a shock to many fans as it was seemingly a done deal that his time as Detroit’s OC had come to an end. 

According to John Kiem of ABC News, the Commanders were in the midst of flying to Detroit to conduct another interview with Johnson when he informed them that he would not be accepting head coaching offers and instead remaining as Detroit’s OC.

Johnson is currently one of the finalists for the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year Award, which will be announced on February 8.

Prior to Johnson running the offense, the Lions were ranked 24th in the NFL in offense in 2021 averaging a mere 19.1 points per game. In the two years he has been the OC, the Lions have been the best offense in the NFL totaling a league-high 13,172 yards of offense.

Lions star wide receiver Amon-Ra St.Brown, on his podcast “St.Brown Brothers”, explained how he found out about the return of his beloved coach.

He said he couldn’t sleep last night. He was thinking about it, and he said there’s unfinished business,” St. Brown said. “He said his heart is in Detroit, he wants to stay.”

Everyone in the Lions organization was ecstatic to hear the news of Johnson staying in Detroit to pursue a Super Bowl.

Following Johnson’s announcement of returning to Detroit, the Washington Commanders had to shift their focus to looking for a new head coach.

It was widely believed that once the Lions were eliminated from the playoffs the Commanders, who had one of two remaining head coaching vacancies, would hire Johnson almost immediately. 

Johnson’s decision set the Commanders back heavily, as many of the popular candidates for the Commanders job have already been hired by other teams. The remaining options for Washington were Dan Quinn, successful defensive coordinator in Dallas and former Super Bowl runner-up, and Mike Macdonald, successful Ravens DC.

On Thursday the Commanders announced that they have hired Dan Quinn to be their new head coach. Despite being fired from the Falcons after week 5 of the 2020 season, Quinn took Atlanta to the Super Bowl in  2017 where his team lost to the New England Patriots after leading 28-3 in the third quarter.

Quinn’s current head coaching record is 43-42, and outside of his Super Bowl appearance season and his 0-5 start that led to his firing in 2020, he has been average in his career posting mostly 8-8 and 7-9 seasons.

Since taking over as the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys in 2021, Quinn led Dallas to the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL allowing just 19.9 points per game only trailing the Bills, 49ers, and Saints. 

Quinn had interviewed with the Panthers, Chargers, Seahawks and Titans in this coaching cycle

Although he was a successful coordinator in Dallas, this hiring has been a disappointment to many fans, as they were excited to hire Ben Johnson.

In response to the Ben Johnson return statement, the other of the two final coaching openings was filled with the Seattle Seahawks hiring former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

Macdonald was one of the hottest coaching names this offseason after leading the Ravens to a dominant defense all season long including an AFC championship appearance. Macdonald may have already been hired had his team not gone as far as they did in the playoffs, losing 17-10 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game.

The Ravens defense this season was ranked first in points allowed per game at just 16.2 and fifth in yards per game at 297.6. 

Macdonald was in his second season back with the Ravens this year at defensive coordinator, but he had been with the Ravens a long time in his career. Prior to this season, he spent one season in 2021 under Jim Harbaugh as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he had been with the Ravens from 2014-2020 in roles such as coaching intern, defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and linebackers coach.

Macdonald had interviewed with the Falcons, Panthers, Chargers, Titans and Commanders during this coaching cycle.

Ben Johnson’s decision to return for his third season as Detroit’s OC led to the final dominos falling almost immediately.

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Tags: football NFL lions detroit lions lions football detroit NFL coaching ravens commanders dan quinn baltimore ravens ben johnson washington commanders mike macdonald


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