Why Brian Johnson is the perfect replacement for Shane Steichen: 5 facts about Philly’s new Offensive Coordinator

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 29: Philadelphia Eagles coach Brian Johnson looks on during the NFC Championship Game between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 29, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Brian Johnson was recently named the Eagles’ new Offensive Coordinator. Here’s you whistlestop guide to his career so far.

It’s no secret that Jalen Hurts wanted Brian Johnson as his next offensive coordinator. He didn’t demand the move, but he lobbied for his personal friend and mentor as only a truly smooth operator can.

How’s that? He heaped praise on Johnson, without breaking character. Hurts subtly let the Philadelphia Eagles know that if they didn’t promote him then another team would.

“He’s going to be a star one day,” Hurts told reporters at Super Bowl LVII. “He’s going to become a big-time head coach one day. I have no doubt in my mind,” Hurts told reporters at the Super Bowl. “That’s coming from a personal friendship with him and I. Also, being able to play for him. I know everything about him.”

Fast forward three-plus weeks and here we are. Johnson is the new offensive coordinator and Hurts is his starry-eyed pupil. He takes the reins from Shane Steichen after two seasons of molding Hurts in his role as Eagles quarterbacks coach.

Prior to that, Johnson enjoyed a successful three-year stint at the University of Florida (2019-20). He had some other interesting stops along the journey, but a reunion with Hurts was always the goal. You could say it was kismet.

Head coach Nick Sirianni certainly didn’t mince words when describing Johnson’s ascension up the coaching ranks. He may it sound like there was never any doubt, crediting his relationship with Hurts as well as the eye test. Brian Johnson is indeed a rising star.

“I’m in there with him every single day and seeing him work every single day, seeing him with the quarterbacks, seeing him in game planning meetings, seeing him on the practice field,” Sirianni told reporters on February 28. “So, I thought that was the natural progression for us to go that route. His relationship with Jalen and just Brian is a sharp, sharp dude. I lean on him for so many different things and now he’s in charge of running the offense.”

Get to know Eagles OC Brian Johnson: 5 Fast Facts

Johnson is a guy destined for a head-coaching job in the NFL. And he’s on the fast track to get there, hopefully not too fast. The Eagles are banking on him (literally as they negotiate an extension for Hurts) to help them take the next step. Here are a few fast facts about the new man wearing the headset and calling the offensive plays:

Elite College Quarterback

Brian Johnson went a three-year starter at Utah where he went 26-7 and left as the winningest quarterback in school history. He threw for 7,838 yards and 57 touchdowns, adding 848 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground. He was named MVP of the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl and 2009 Sugar Bowl. For his efforts, Brian Johnson’s image was slapped on the cover of EA Sports “NCAA Football 10” video game.

Hot Coaching Commodity

Hurts sent a not-so-subtle message about his mentor becoming a “big-time head coach one day” because he knew what was going on behind the scenes. Brian Johnson interviewed for several offensive coordinator jobs this offseason, including reported meetings with the Rams, Jets, and Packers. The Eagles acted with haste before he could leave the building: “When you have to start over, you start over, but when you have good guys there, you want to keep going and keep working and keep things similar,” said Sirianni.

Brian Johnsons’ Texas roots run deep

The dynamic between Hurts and Johnson extends beyond the workplace, dating back two decades to when the quarterback was only 4 years old. He was a ball boy at Lee High in Baytown, Texas, where his dad, Averion Hurts, was a coach. They stayed in touch and their relationship kept evolving over the years, with Johnson remembering Hurts “as a stoic kid who took after his father both in disposition and appearance (via The Inquirer).” Later, Johnson attempted to recruit (unsuccessfully) at Mississippi State.

Crossed Paths with Aaron Rodgers:

Brian Johnson went undrafted in 2009 before receiving an invite to rookie minicamp with the Green Bay Packers. He was supposed to compete for the third-string quarterback job behind a second-year player named Aaron Rodgers. However, Johnson never made it to training camp that year, leaving cold and snowy Wisconsin without a contract from the Packers or any other team. He eventually played one year in the USFL for the New York Sentinels.

Coached Kyle Trask, Dak Prescott:

There is a feeling around the league that Kyle Trask may get a crack at taking over for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. That remains to be seen. What we do know, Trask was an absolute stud at Florida where he threw for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2020. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist for one of the most explosive offenses in the country. His offensive coordinator? Yup, Brian Johnson. He also helped develop Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott as a quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State in 2014 and 2015.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire