VIDEO: Mic’d up Ben Johnson coaching Malik Willis, Sam Howell at Senior Bowl

Pride of Detroit

Earlier this week, the Detroit Lions announced that former tight ends coach Ben Johnson has been promoted to the Lions’ offensive coordinator position. It was a move that didn’t come as much of a surprise given the team’s significant offensive improvement when Johnson took a bigger role in the passing game at the midway point of the season.

Johnson has been a rising star for several years and has apparently been a hot commodity with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor even admitting he has been trying to hire him for several years. But at just age 35, there isn’t a ton known about Johnson other than the fact that he’s worked under a bunch of well-respected coaches, including Taylor, Mike Sherman, Bill Lazor, Adam Gase, and Anthony Lynn.

Thankfully, we got a little peek into Johnson’s coaching style down at the Senior Bowl, where he was already serving as the team’s offensive coordinator for the week. The Lions’ media crew was down there, and Johnson was mic’d up during the American team’s third practice of the week.

Check it out:

The video starts with Mark Brunell and Dan Campbell teasing Johnson about his rise in media attention—and his tight-fitting shirt.

But the most interesting parts from the video are Johnson’s interactions with the quarterbacks. Remember, Johnson is a former college quarterback himself—as he has to hilariously remind North Carolina’s Sam Howell at the end of the video (Johnson played for North Carolina, too).

Most of the interactions shown are with former Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who was one of the top performers down in Mobile, and Howell.

“That’s a good shot there, bud. I love the ball, love the ball,” Johnson said to Willis after a deep shot landed just out of the reach of tight end Isaiah Likely.

“A little too much?” Willis replied?

“No, he’s got to go get it. He’s got to go get it. Keep putting it out in front.”

You can tell Johnson is a fun guy to be around, as he jokes with Brunell and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.

But one of the coolest moments comes when Howell asks Johnson why he coaches.

“One word: relationships.”

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