Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson explains ‘theme’ of the springtime

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who could be going into his final season with the team, is not satisfied with how the offense played in 2022.

The Detroit Lions‘ offense under Ben Johnson‘s leadership surpassed expectations in his first year as offensive coordinator. In the 2022 season, they ranked fifth in scoring, while having the fewest turnovers in the NFL. Despite these accomplishments, Johnson insists that the team is not complacent. The offseason program has been centered around returning to the basics and honing the fundamentals for each position group.

Ben Johnson Detroit Lions

Key Points

  • Johnson's first year as offensive coordinator for the Lions exceeded expectations.
  • The team finished fifth in scoring and had the fewest turnovers in the NFL.
  • The focus of the offseason program is to return to the basics and improve fundamentals.
  • Johnson believes executing existing plays better can make them a better offense.
  • The team's success in ball security led to wins in the previous season.
  • While new plays and adjustments will be introduced, building a strong foundation remains a priority.
  • Johnson aims to make better decisions as a play-caller to put the offense in advantageous positions.
  • Trusting and delegating responsibilities to the coaching staff is a crucial aspect of Johnson's growth as a coordinator.
  • Recently added coaches bring new ideas and perspectives to enhance the offense's performance.

Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson explains ‘theme' of the springtime

Through a thorough self-evaluation process, Johnson identified areas where the team can improve its execution, emphasizing that even without new plays, they can be a better offense by executing their existing plays more effectively. The focus on fundamentals stems from their success in the previous season, where an emphasis on ball security resulted in wins.

“Our theme this springtime has been back to the basics,” Johnson said. “So, we've been harping consistently on the fundamentals, breaking it down to the nuts and bolts for each position group. And our coaches have kind of led the charge on that.”

Ben Johnson Jared Goff Detroit Lions

Johnson recognizes the missed opportunities

While the team plans to introduce new plays and adjustments, building a strong foundation remains a priority. Johnson acknowledges the need to be innovative and creative but also recognizes the missed opportunities from the previous season and aims to maximize their potential going forward. Additionally, Johnson reflects on his growth as a play-caller and aims to make better decisions to put the offense in advantageous positions. Trusting his coaching staff and embracing new ideas from recently added coaches further contributes to the team's potential for growth.

“I came away from that, personally, even if we didn't run one new play this year, if we ran all the same plays we ran last year, we would be a better offense because we (can) execute better than what we did,” Johnson said. “We did a lot of really nice things a year ago, but it really means nothing going forward into this year. We've got to be a lot better in terms of the execution, and we should be because we should know what the problems are for the plays that we're running — run plays, protections, pass concepts.

“So, I personally expect a huge step forward in terms of the growth, the knowledge base of our players, the experience they have under their belts,” Johnson continued. “That's why the emphasis has been on the basics. Let's get really good at the fundamentals, because that's what helped us win games at the end of last year. The fact that we led the league in ball security — we didn't turn the ball over in the second half of the season — that equated to wins for us. I think just the recognition of the little things all adding up and paying big dividends as an offense, that's really the point.”

Bottom Line: Fostering Growth and Innovation

The focus on returning to the basics and improving fundamentals is vital for the Detroit Lions' offensive growth. By emphasizing execution and understanding the nuances of each play, the team aims to build a strong foundation that will carry them forward. The self-evaluation process has allowed them to identify areas of improvement, and the recognition of missed opportunities from the previous season fuels their motivation to maximize their potential. Ben Johnson's emphasis on innovation and creativity, coupled with the input from newly added coaches, adds a fresh perspective and contributes to the team's growth and evolution.