Earlier on Monday, the Broncos announced they fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett. After a 4-11 record, coming off a 51-14 loss on Christmas, and no light at the end of the tunnel, it was the right move to make. Mortgaging Denver’s future for Russell Wilson may go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history. Hackett had to take the fall. He joins Urban Meyer in recent history as head coaches to never finish their first season. This calls into question: who will the Broncos hire to be their new head coach in 2023, and will it be Ben Johnson?
Johnson has been getting some name recognition this season as offensive coordinator. Johnson deserves plenty of credit for making this Lions offense one of the best units in the league. Many Lions’ fans are mentally preparing themselves to lose Johnson this off season, which would be a brutal loss for Detroit. Johnson would do well as a head coach, but as Lions’ fans, we have a right to be selfish and want to keep him.
It is becoming a trend across the league to hire young first time head coaches, particularly with an offensive background. Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell and Chargers’ Brandon Staley are some notable examples.
While Johnson may be on the radar for plenty of teams with coaching vacancies, it appears the Broncos don’t have Ben Johnson on theirs.
A List of Potential Candidates:
Some Familiar Names Crack the List
If you look carefully, a couple of former Lions coaches near the top of the list. Darrel Bevell, currently the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, was formerly the Lions OC from 2019-2020. He also took over as interim head coach for the Lions in 2020. Jim Caldwell has not coached in the NFL since 2019, but he was the Lions HC for four seasons (2014-2017). He finished with a 36-28 record before being relieved of his duties. It is unsure how much interest Caldwell has in coming back to coach, but his name continues to float around every off season.
So….. Ben Johnson’s name is no where to be found. The Denver job is not particularly attractive either, especially in a tough AFC West division. Teams will want to interview Johnson this offseason, and he could very well get hired elsewhere. However, Lions fans can give a sigh of relief in the meantime. It looks like he may not leave after all.
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