Washington enters this offseason with a lot of hope, plenty of cap space and the no. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Things never looked better for a team that finished with the second-worst record in the league, you could say.
As for who the next head coach will be?
ESPN's senior NFL reporter Dan Graziano seems to have a hunch as to who the Commanders are targeting to hire, and his belief comes from what he's heard about new Commanders owner Josh Harris.
"Ben Johnson. Many people around the league believe Harris has been focused on Johnson as his top choice for coach," Graziano wrote.
Ben Johnson would be the perfect hire for the Washington Commanders
Let's look at the facts, real quick. Johnson was part of the staff that saw Detroit bring in quarterback Jared Goff in that Matthew Stafford trade. Goff was supposed to be nothing more than a "throw in" and, maybe, a bridge quarterback to Detroit's next franchise passer.
Instead, under Johnson, Goff saw his career resurrected and now, they're playing for a spot in the NFC Championship Game.
Johnson is known as one of the top head coaching candidates right now, and has been for over a year, actually. Last offseason, Johnson turned down the Carolina Panthers' head coaching vacancy in order to stick it out with Detroit and see how much further they could go this year.
Turns out, he was right to bet on himself, because now, he's as hot a commodity as there is in the coaching realm.
Johnson would be able to come in and likely get his pick as the team's next quarterback, among all available options. That would even include, presumably, trading up with the Chicago Bears to obtain the first overall pick and select Caleb Williams, should Johnson believe he's "the guy."
Johnson's Detroit offense finished the regular season no. 3 in yards, no. 5 in rushing, no. 2 in passing and no. 5 in scoring. He is as consistent as they come as far as play callers and showing, on film, that he knows ball. He knows situational football. He knows quarterbacks.
This is as good a hire as Washington could ask for, and yes, that's even over Jim Harbaugh or Bill Belichick. Johnson is younger, knows where the game has evolved from and where it's headed, and has proven recently to have success in this league.