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Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans set to interview ‘hottest candidate’ on head coach market

carolina panthers, houston texans
Credit: USA Today Network

The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans are among a trio of organizations set to speak with one of the most sought-after talents on the head coaching market, however, it is probably not who you are thinking of.

The Panthers and Texans have some major voids to fill in their organizations. Carolina was the first to put up the “help wanted” sign when they fired head coach Matt Rhule after two seasons and five games. Houston joined them earlier this week when they didn’t wait until “Black Monday” to relieve Lovie Smith of his role leading their coaching staff on Sunday night.

Both franchises have had far more losing seasons over the last decade than trips to the postseason. The Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers are in need of a culture shock that can deliver consistent winning seasons for years to come.

Related: NFL coaching candidates – Best HC, coordinator and GM candidates in 2023

Many around the NFL believe that former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Michigan University head ball coach Jim Harbaugh are the top candidates on the head coaching market and are being sought by every franchise with an opening. However, it seems there may be a new star on the coaching market and the Texans and Panthers will talk to him very soon.

Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts plan to interview Ben Johnson this week

carolina panthers, houston texans
Credit: Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday morning, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported that the Texans, Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts are also set to speak with the “hottest candidate” on the coaching market in the next week.

“Lions [offensive coordinator] Ben Johnson is interviewing for the Texans head coaching job today, per source. The Colts (Friday) and Panthers (next week) are up next for Johnson, one of the hottest candidates in this cycle.”

– Report on NFL head coach market

Ben Johnson has jumped to the forefront of the NFL head coach search after an impressive showing for the Detroit Lions in 2022-2023. The 36-year-old served as the team’s tight ends coach for two seasons before being promoted to the role of offensive coordinator in 2022.

With Johnson calling the plays, the Detroit Lions were surprisingly in the running for a playoff spot in the final week of the season due to how well their offense played all year. Quarterback Jared Goff had the best season of his career, and Detroit finished among the five best teams in the NFL in total yards and points per game.