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NFL Insider Suggests Lions' Ben Johnson Flubbed Commanders Interview

Despite being one of the NFL’s hottest commodities during the recent coaching carousel, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will remain the team, instead of joining the Washington Commanders.

With the Dan Quinn era about to officially begin for the Washington Commanders, a notable section of the team’s fan base are wondering how the purported pairing of general manager Adam Peters and prominent coaching commodity (and current Detroit Lions offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson did not come to fruition. 

While conventional wisdom supports the fact that Washington hired the right man for the job in Quinn, there is a slight swell of sentiment which suggests that Johnson may have been the architect of his own demise. 

During a recent appearance on Seattle’s "Puck & Jim Show" NFL Network’s Mike Garofalo provided some insight not only into the Washington job, but also the Seattle Seahawks head coaching position — both of which Johnson was a reported finalist. Ultimately, he turned down both opportunities to remain with the Lions. 


"I don’t think he interviewed particularly well … I don’t think he really bowled people over in the interview process at all. And I’ve heard that his personality, you know, he’s very smart, very bright, a great play-caller, but I’ve heard that his personality is kind of…..not the most gregarious guy. Not a Mike Macdonald-type guy or even a Dan Quinn-type guy, so I think that came across in the interview process."

Though many considered Johnson the overwhelming favorite to succeed recently-jettisoned head coach Ron Rivera, the 37-year-old removed his name from consideration via text message as members of the Commanders brass were en route to interview him for a second time. Unsurprisingly, his method of notification did not go over well at all with the Washington organization.

Still, Garofalo suggested the possibility that Johnson had fallen out of favor in the Nation’s Capital even before his would-be second interview. The Charleston, SC native, who has been rumored to struggle with interpersonal communication, largely failed to impress his Washington suitors. In fact, he may have trailed at least three other candidates at the time of his decision to return to Detroit — including Quinn. 

“I think he was pretty low on their list at that point,” Garofalo said. “And it was Anthony Weaver, defensive line coach of the Ravens, who did extremely well. I heard great things about him. Aaron Glenn (Lions defensive coordinator) was eliminated, I believe, late last night. So I think it was down to Weaver and Dan Quinn. So they had other guys they really hit it off better with than Ben Johnson."

Ultimately, Washington is set to move forward with Quinn, who is now charged with the duty of resurrecting a franchise which finished 4-13, yet owns the second overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. Conversely, Johnson will return to the Lions, who came within an eyelash of a berth in Super Bowl LVIII. 

Whether the Commanders made the correct decision is still a matter of conjecture. Either way, the team and its beleaguered fan base will find out in due time.