Dan Campbell Issues Message on Interview Requests for Lions Assistants

Dan Campbell

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talked about the assistant coaches on his staff receiving interview requests for NFL head coach openings.

Rumors circled during the second half of the 2023 campaign that Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn could be top candidates for NFL head coaching jobs at the end of the season. That turned out to be true immediately.

The offseason wasn’t even a day old yet when NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Washington Commanders requested to interview both Johnson and Glenn.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell shared during his January 8 press conference that he wants Johnson and Glenn to receive serious consideration for head coaching jobs. But he also made it clear they still have a job to do in Detroit.

“They know this. It’s all about us right now, and it’s about the team,” Campbell told reporters. “They are very much invested in this team. Their opportunities will come.

“Can’t do anything this week. So, it’s just that. Stay focused on what it is right now.”

The task at hand that Campbell described is the Los Angeles Rams. The Lions will face the Rams in the Wild Card round on January 14 at 8 pm ET. The matchup will be Detroit’s first home playoff game in 30 years.

By league rules, Johnson and Glenn will not be able to interview with the Commanders, or any other team, until after the game if the Lions lose. Should the Lions win, then neither coach will be permitted to participate in head coaching interviews until following the divisional round.

Lions’ Ben Johnson a Top Candidate for NFL Head Coach Openings?

While rumors have swirled around a few different Lions assistants, NFL insiders have mentioned Johnson as one of the top candidates for potential head coach openings.

On November 15, Pelissero reported that “many league sources consider Johnson the most coveted candidate in this hiring cycle.”

The Athletic’s Mike Jones also listed Johnson first among the top candidates for head coach openings on January 8.

“The 37-year-old Johnson’s name remains on the lips of many NFL front-office members,” Jones wrote. “He has impressed and intrigued officials around the league with his creativity and open-mindedness, which helped the Lions go 12-5 and lock up their first division title in 30 years.”

It’s not hard to see why Johnson could be in high demand when the Lions’ season ends. Under Johnson, Detroit’s offense ended 2022 and 2023 ranked in the top 5 in points scored and yards.

The last time the Lions were top 5 in both of those categories in back-to-back seasons was 1953-54.

In 2023, Johnson’s offense featured a balanced attack, as Detroit’s offense was second in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards. The unit also led the NFL in rushing touchdowns and finished fourth in passing scores.

Quarterback Jared Goff experienced a resurgence in his career under Johnson the past two seasons. In 2023, Goff completed 67.3% of his passes for 4,575 yards and 30 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

Furthermore, Lions running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs each had more than 900 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Prior to becoming Detroit’s offensive coordinator in 2022, Johnson served as the team’s offensive quality control in 2019 and tight ends coach in 2020-21.

Johnson was an offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins from 2012-18.

Commanders Want to Interview Johnson & Aaron Glenn

Johnson might have his pick of jobs this offseason, but Glenn could receive serious consideration too.

Glenn’s defense hasn’t posted the gaudy statistics that Johnson’s unit has, but Detroit has improved defensively each season under Glenn.

In 2023, the Lions finished 19th in yards allowed and 23rd in points yielded. Last season, they were 32nd in yards and 28th in points allowed.

Glenn’s unit took a major leap in run defense during the 2023 season. After permitting the fourth-most rushing yards a year ago, the Lions were second in run defense and third in rushing yards allowed per carry in 2023.

Before joining the Detroit coaching staff, Glenn was defensive backs coach for the New Orleans Saints from 2016-20. He began his coaching career as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2014-15.

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