The Carolina Panthers are expected to schedule an interview for their head-coaching vacancy with Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, according to an ESPN report. Johnson, who did not confirm the news, said Tuesday that “all of my focus is about this week.”
The earliest the Panthers can interview Johnson is Jan. 18, three days after the conclusion of the Eagles-Buccaneers matchup in the NFC wild-card round on Monday night. If the Eagles remain in the playoffs, the Panthers will by rule only be able to interview Johnson virtually.
Johnson, a first-year NFL offensive coordinator, emerged as a candidate for future head-coaching jobs while leading an Eagles offense that has been lethal in some stretches this season and spotty in others.
Jalen Hurts established himself as the MVP front-runner during Philadelphia’s 10-1 start, and A.J. Brown earned his third Pro Bowl selection in a season that included a six-game streak of 100-yard games. The Eagles cooled down offensively while losing five of their last six games, and they scored less than 20 points in four of those games. Still, the Eagles ranked seventh in scoring offense (25.5 points per game) and eighth in total offense (354.4 yards per game) in Johnson’s first season.
Johnson, 36, joined coach Nick Sirianni’s staff as a quarterbacks coach in 2021 despite not having any prior working relationship with Sirianni. Johnson had earned a reputation for how well he worked with quarterbacks, and he’d already established a relationship with Hurts. Johnson played quarterback for Lee High in Baytown, Texas, where Hurts’ father, Averion, was the defensive coordinator.
Johnson, a Sugar Bowl MVP quarterback at Utah, was an offensive coordinator with Utah, Houston and Florida before joining the Eagles. Johnson would become the third coach from Sirianni’s coaching tree to become a head coach. Former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (Colts) and former defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon (Cardinals) both left for head-coaching jobs after Philadelphia’s appearance in Super Bowl LVII.
“I think the biggest thing, Nick’s been a great resource in terms of development and just being able to be somebody to get ideas from and to bounce ideas off of,” Johnson said. “… I can’t say enough good things about the type of person he is, how much he cares, and how much he wants to see everybody do really well. He’s somebody that in a short period has become somebody who’s really close.”