5:44pm: It appears the Saints‘ request will be honored as Johnson is reportedly expected to interview with the Saints sometime early this week, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Additionally, the Browns have added Johnson to their list of offensive coordinator candidates, as well. Cleveland fired their offensive coordinator of four years, Alex Van Pelt, this week following a one-sided loss to the Texans in the Wild Card round. Van Pelt was a non-play-calling coordinator on head coach Kevin Stefanski‘s staff. His dismissal and Stefanski’s desire to interview one of the top up-and-coming names in the coaching world may point to a willingness from Stefanski to give up play-calling duties. Regardless, Johnson will interview with the Browns early this week, as well.
9:56am: Jerrod Johnson is back on the OC interview circuit. Landing on the coordinator radar last year, Johnson ended up in Houston as the Texans’ quarterbacks coach. After C.J. Stroud‘s rookie season, teams should be expected to give Johnson more attention as OC jobs become available.
One will be the Saints. New Orleans will be the first team to request an OC interview with Johnson this year, with CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones noting the young assistant has received a slip from the NFC South team. Johnson joins Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson and Bengals QBs coach Dan Pitcher on the Saints’ OC radar thus far.
The Chargers brought in Johnson for a meeting last year but ended up going with Kellen Moore soon after the latter’s Cowboys exit. A former Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach, Johnson still managed to move up the ladder. Working under Bobby Slowik in Houston this season, the 35-year-old assistant presided over one of the better QB rookie years in recent NFL history. Stroud’s early readiness will likely garner Johnson more than one OC meeting this offseason.
Puka Nacua‘s record-setting season may not be enough to beat out Stroud for Offensive Rookie of the Year, considering where the Texans were since the Deshaun Watson turbulence began. Stroud led the NFL in passing yards per game and in INT rate, throwing just five picks, and quarterbacked the Texans to a one-sided wild-card win over the Browns. Johnson’s first season as a team’s top QBs coach could not have gone much better.
Johnson, who bounced around the NFL as a practice squad arm during the 2010s, is just two years removed from the quality control level. The Colts employed Johnson as such from 2020-21, with the Vikings bringing him in as their assistant QBs coach during Kevin O’Connell‘s first season. Five teams — the Falcons, Panthers, Seahawks, Titans and Commanders — sent Slowik interview requests. The prospect of Ryans losing his top two offensive assistants after Year 1 will be in play.