Where do the Washington Commanders stand in their quest to make Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson the team's next head coach?
Locking down Adam Peters as general manager swiftly gave the Washington Commanders a bit of breathing space. The new front-office leader will be hugely influential in picking the next head coach. It's also becoming clear who the primary target is to spearhead their exciting new regime.
There is growing speculation around the league that the Commanders have firmly locked their sights on Ben Johnson. The Detroit Lions offensive coordinator has increased his reputation this season, leading one of the league's most efficient offenses to great things once again. Something that's enhanced his status as this year's hottest candidate.
When can the Commanders speak again with Ben Johnson?
The Commanders interviewed Johnson virtually on Friday. Many others also threw their hat in the ring. The progressive play-caller could have his pick of destinations when it's all said and done. Washington looks more appealing than most thanks to Peters' presence and Josh Harris' ownership group harboring ambitious plans, but there's just no telling for sure right now.
Many respected insiders seem to believe Johnson to the Commanders is almost a done deal. Of course, getting too excited before official confirmation would be foolish. Looking at how things stand currently, it might be a week or so before we find out one way or another.
Johnson's outstanding play-calling contributed significantly to the Lions' impressive divisional-round playoff success against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Detroit is now preparing for its first NFC Conference championship game in decades. This also has implications for the Commanders if they've genuinely earmarked the coordinator as their No. 1 target.
According to league rules, coaches still involved in playoff engagements cannot speak to teams in person until next week. While this is undoubtedly frustrating for the Commanders and others who want their head coach confirmed at the earliest possible opportunity, it allows coaches like Johnson to focus on the task at hand fully.
That's been the primary objective above all else from Johnson's perspective despite a plethora of interview requests. It's been a long time since the Lions were in legitimate contention. Having any unnecessary distractions isn't an option leading up to their crunch title game at the San Francisco 49ers.
In the meantime, Washington's brain trust is examining other hopefuls. Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is one of those being brought in for a second interview. Dan Quinn of the Dallas Cowboys is another. Multiple reports today suggest Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik will also speak to Peters and company face to face.
This is due diligence if nothing else. One anticipates the Commanders will also bring in Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald for an in-person discussion when permitted. Even if the result might be Johnson, the new regime is right to cover every base and put contingency plans in place.
There is an enormous sense of anticipation across the Commanders' long-suffering fanbase. This is the first offseason with a sense of optimism in a long while. While that's a good thing, it's also bringing a sense of impatience with pre-draft assessment events on the immediate horizon.
My advice? Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. There is now a leadership structure in place who care and know what they're doing.
At long last, everything is in good hands.
Adding Johnson could be a huge win for Washington, and you can join in on the winning this weekend thanks to FanDuel and DraftKings. Just sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on Johnson's Lions vs. the Niners at each sportsbook. You'll get $350 in bonus bets, win or lose! Sign up with FanDuel and DraftKings today.