Hard work has always defined Commanders HC candidate Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson has had to work hard as a player and a coach, but years of that hard work appear to have paid off.

Johnson was never the superstar, the high-prized college recruit. In fact, following high school, Johnson had no scholarship offer, so he had to walk on at the University of North Carolina.

While at UNC, Johnson was learning the offense, learning to play quarterback, but ironically Johnson was never able to make the field at quarterback. Those who started ahead of Johnson for the Tar Heels were Darian Durant, Matt Baker, Joe Dailey, Cameron Sexton, and T.J. Yates. Yates was the only one who was drafted in the NFL (Texans, 152 overall in 2011).

Johnson did, however, agree to play special teams, get on the field as a Tar Heel, and graduate from UNC in 2008.

After three seasons (2009-11) at Boston College, launching his coaching career, he was hired by the Dolphins for the 2012 season. As an “offensive assistant,” he found on that offensive staff were OC Mike Sherman, TE Dan Campbell, and QB Zac Taylor.

Campbell, today, is the Lions’ head coach, and Taylor, the Bengals’ head coach. Sherman had already been an OC with the Seahawks and Texans while also the Packers head coach six seasons (2000-05).

When Joe Philbin became the Dolphins head coach in 2014, he brought in Bill Lazor for his offensive coordinator. Some Washington fans will recall Lazor as part of Joe Gibbs’ offensive staff during the 2004-2007 seasons.

Al Saunders (with Washington 2006-07) joined the staff in 2015. Adam Gase, former OC) became head coach in 2016 and hired Clyde Christensen as his OC and Chris Foerster (OL), who was in Washington under Mike Shanahan. Then Dowell Loggains was brought in as the new OC, Johnson’s last year on the Dolphins staff.

Johnson then served under offensive coordinators Darrell Bevell (2019-20) and Anthony Lynn (2021) with the Lions.

All of this to say, Johnson has had an opportunity to learn from many.

According to some in the NFL, Johnson is a keen student and a great communicator.

He still appears to be the front-runner to become the next head coach of the Commanders.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire