Ben Johnson Talks About Drive to Improve at Training Camp
Entering his second full season as offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson radiates readiness. Lessons learned from the previous year have provided him with critical insights into the areas his offense needs to improve. At the press conference before day 4 of training camp, Johnson emphasized the shift from the learning phase in the first season to an execution-focused strategy in the second.
“Yeah, to me it feels like it’s an offense going into year two,” Johnson explained, signaling a significant progression in team dynamics. “The conversations that are being had, particularly from the guys that were here last year…it’s less learning concepts. It’s now understanding the answers to the problems because every play call, defenses present problems and now we’ve got the solutions.”
Johnson is pushing his offense to be comfortable being uncomfortable. By subjecting his offense to a variety of scenarios and challenges, he aims to make them as adaptable as possible. Embracing this discomfort, Johnson believes, will yield significant rewards as the Lions lock horns with the Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener.
Developing the Rookies
Johnson, who spent three seasons with the Lions in various roles before becoming the offensive coordinator, understands the importance of nurturing young talent. At the press conference, he underscored his commitment to developing the rookies and placed high expectations on Sam LaPorta, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Antoine Green.
“Sam (LaPorta) has earned the right to be in that first team huddle,” Johnson stated confidently. He commended the rookie tight end for his persistent hard work and significant progress. But his praise didn’t stop at acknowledging LaPorta’s recent accomplishments. He emphasized the importance of versatility in his role, pointing out that tight ends who can contribute in both passing and running plays significantly boost the team’s offensive capabilities.
"He's earned the right, now, to be in that first team huddle with Jared (Goff) and that offensive line…"
– Detroit #Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson on the continuous improvement of, rookie tight end, Sam Laporta. 👀 #OnePride
For rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, Johnson signaled an escalation in his development process. He shared, “we’re going to start pushing the envelope a little bit as we keep going through camp.” Gibbs’ fast learning curve and adaptability have earned him a more substantial role in the team’s plans.
Antoine Green’s development was another point of pride for Johnson, who praised the wide receiver’s commitment and growth. “Green has earned that right to get a couple of reps,” Johnson remarked, pointing out that Green’s speed and ability to get open could make him a valuable piece to the Lions’ offense at some point. “He’s playing faster than what he was in the springtime…he’s a four-four guy, he needs to play four-four eery single snap and when he does that…he shows an ability to get open.”
Expectations and the Road Ahead
Despite the high expectations surrounding the team and himself, Johnson remains unfazed. “I’ve always had high expectations on myself,” Johnson expressed, illustrating his unwavering drive to excel. His main goal for this season is to be more efficient with the game plan process, which he believes will help the entire coaching staff.
As Ben Johnson prepares to guide the Lions offense through the 2023 season, his focus on team growth, development, and personal betterment encapsulate his determination. His mantra, as echoed throughout the conference, is clear: work hard, improve constantly, and face every challenge head-on.