Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has some unfinished business to attend to in Detroit.
Johnson, who just completed his first season as Detroit's offensive coordinator, has decided to stay on staff in that role for a second season despite being a top candidate in this year's head coach hiring cycle. Johnson recently interviewed virtually with three teams with reports out of Carolina he was among the favorites to land that job.
But after leading one of the most dynamic offenses in football, Johnson, 36, is coming back to Detroit in 2023.
The Lions finished the season 9-8 and ranked in the top 10 in nearly every major offensive category under Johnson's guidance. Detroit finished fifth in the NFL in points scored, fourth in total yards and eighth in passing.
Johnson started his rise among the Lions coaching ranks last year when he took over as pass game coordinator after Lions head coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties from Anthony Lynn midway through last season. The offense instantly improved, and Detroit won three of their final six games.
Johnson was named offensive coordinator last offseason and that side of the football was a strength for this team all year. The Lions' offense racked up 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards for the first time in franchise history. The team topped 30 points in a game eight times, the most in the NFL this season and in franchise history.
Quarterback Jared Goff enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in Johnson's offense. Johnson invited Goff to build this scheme with him this offseason and that allowed Goff to really take ownership of it and feel comfortable in it.
Goff threw for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdown passes this season. He finished the year going 324 straight pass attempts without an interception, the fifth longest streak in league history.
View photos of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks from the 2022 NFL season.
"He's been as instrumental as any coach I've ever had," Goff said. "Our communication is as good as I've ever been a part of and he does a great job with not just me but everybody, getting everyone ready to play. I joked in the middle of the year that I'm going to stop saying nice things about him because I know where that heads and if he does end up doing that, I'll be thrilled for him. He's a hell of a coach and that's why you get into this profession is to do that but selfishly I'd love to continue to play for him."
Analysts and experts around the league raved at Johnson's play design and use of personnel and motion. With Johnson back in the fold and the majority of Detroit's offensive players under contract for next season, the Lions are expected to have one of the best offenses in the league once again in 2023.