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Campbell confident 'rock star' Ben Johnson can develop quarterbacks

It has been well documented how the Detroit Lions' offense improved last season after head coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties midseason and Ben Johnson was elevated from tight ends coach to pass-game coordinator.

Everything about Detroit's offense the second half of last season was better, including quarterback Jared Goff's play, and subsequently the performance of the passing game overall.

As a result of those improvements, Campbell elevated Johnson to the role of Detroit's offensive coordinator this offseason.

Campbell and Johnson first crossed paths in Miami, where Campbell served as the tight ends coach and eventually interim head coach, while Johnson worked his way up from offensive assistant to assistant quarterbacks coach to tight ends coach.

"I think Ben's a rock star, man," Campbell said recently. "He's a young guy, but he's kind of gone a little longer, harder road to get to where he's at. He's been around some really good coaches, now, some guys who have coached some pretty good quarterbacks.

"Just being around Mike Sherman when I was with him down there (in Miami). Joe Philbin, who was with (Aaron) Rodgers. Then he's with (Adam) Gase, who had (Peyton) Manning and those guys. So he understands quarterback play well. He was with Zac Taylor, who was with me in Miami. We were all together there in Miami. So he understands it well."

View photos of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Campbell said the Lions are happy with the way Goff finished last season, and he heads into 2022 as the starter. But Campbell also said he's not opposed to drafting a quarterback and having him develop behind Goff if the opportunity is right.

"Just in our time, when he was basically a (quality control coach) in Miami, he understood quarterback play very well," Campbell said of Johnson, who was a walk-on quarterback at North Carolina. "Even from that, he had a good feel, but he was always a guy who was very intent on the ins and outs of that position and the offense as a whole. And he was a sponge, man. He was constantly solving problems and asking questions."

In Johnson, the Lions believe they have a budding star in the offensive coaching ranks, and someone who will get the most out of Goff, Tim Boyle, David Blough, and any other quarterback the team might potentially add.

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