Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson was fired earlier this week, as embattled head coach Nick Sirianni seeks to revive a once prolific offense that found itself in a major late season rut—as the Eagles surprisingly struggled down the 2023 stretch.
We know that Indianapolis Colts first-year head coach Shane Steichen attempted to bring at least a few members of the Eagles assistant coaching staff along with him last offseason to the ‘Circle City’. However, Sirianni reportedly blocked his requests:
“There’s no doubt Shane (Steichen) wanted to take some guys there, but they’re Philadelphia Eagles coaches,” Sirianni said last year at the NFL Scouting Combine via The IndyStar. “It’s my job to keep good coaches in the building. That’s who touches the players every single day and can help them get better.”
The question is whether the 36-year-old Johnson was once one of those Philly assistant coaches that Steichen coveted prior to being promoted to the Colts head coach’s vacant old position as Eagles offensive coordinator.
Despite his recent termination, there are multiple teams reportedly still interested in having Johnson join their offensive coaching staff—from NFL head coaches to league general managers alike:
Brian Johnson already has several coaches and general managers talking to him about joining their staff.— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) January 24, 2024
He is very respected around the league and should land somewhere new soon. https://t.co/cQSeCXJLdu
Is Shane Steichen now one of them?
Johnson was formerly Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Florida (2020) prior to serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Eagles (2021-22) under then offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.
While he shared in their shortcomings, there’s some belief that Johnson was scapegoated a bit for the Eagles’ offensive struggles, when it was a top-down, collective underperformance from Jalen Hurts’s late season slump to the strict confines of Nick Sirianni’s coaching:
Re: Brian Johnson — an odd move for the Eagles considering the organizational excitement about him during the past three years. The Eagles underperformed on offense and need to evolve and show more creativity, but there was belief that Johnson was operating within confines of…— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 23, 2024
Staff members are upset about Brian Johnson being let go, says @JFowlerESPN.— 97.5 The Fanatic (@975TheFanatic) January 23, 2024
“There’s some weird vibes out of there. I just don’t know that everybody on the staff is happy about everything that’s gone down – especially with Brian Johnson who was sort of caught in the middle.” pic.twitter.com/EwUNf48ufk
For what it’s worth, the Colts don’t currently have a glaring opening as current offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is not expected to be a lead candidate for the Eagles vacant offensive coordinator position, while Cam Turner is set to remain Indy’s quarterbacks coach. (*Cooter was formerly an offensive consultant for the Eagles in 2021).
It’s reasonable that Johnson, who’s even interviewed for a few NFL head coach openings this cycle, could find a more prominent offensive coaching opportunity elsewhere.
That being said, the Colts don’t currently have a passing game coordinator on their coaching staff right now and also could have Johnson rejoin Steichen as a consultant for the Indianapolis offense—especially in light of his already strong familiarity with Steichen, as well as their franchise quarterback hopeful Anthony Richardson.