HomeDa Birds NewsBrian Johnson of the Eagles Refuses to Let 'Silly' Criticism Deter Solution-Based...

Brian Johnson of the Eagles Refuses to Let ‘Silly’ Criticism Deter Solution-Based Approach

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PHILADELPHIA – So you want to be an NFL offensive coordinator?

Philadelphia Eagles play-caller Brian Johnson is a rising star in NFL coaching circles and expected to be a hot name during the 2024 hiring cycle as long as the team’s 10-1 start is foreshadowing a strong finish.

Locally, however, Johnson, 36, has become a bit of a scapegoat to some when the style points have been deemed insufficient. After a 99-yard first half in what turned into a 37-34 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills at home on Sunday, the Eagles were booed off the field and social media ran rampant with calls for Johnson’s job.

Head coach Nick Sirianni seemed bemused by the idea some were taking shots at his first lieutenant.

“The criticism on Brian Johnson, I think that’s silly,” Sirianni said. “… I think he’s doing a phenomenal job.”

Johnson himself was asked about the hits he takes and what he does to handle it.

“It’s something, I think, for me, personally, I’ve always been able to do that, even going back to my time as a player,” Johnson said. “When you play this game and when you coach this game, criticism is a part of the deal. It’s not going anywhere.

“For me, I never take it personally. I always want us to perform at an elite level on a consistent basis week in and week out.”

Eagles OC Brian Johnson is a hot commodity around the NFL.

John McMullen/Eagles Today

The outside narratives stay outside for the play-caller.

“I don’t really pay attention to all the outside stuff,” Johnson said. “But that’s just the nature of the job. Very simple, call the plays that work. When they don’t work, that’s ultimately my responsibility, right? And I accept that with open arms. And for me, I’m never going to waver. I’ll always remain confident and steady with our approach.”

A star quarterback in college at Utah where Johnson was once the cover model for the 2010 EA Sports NCAA football video game, the veteran coach didn’t waste time trying to kickstart away from the NFL’s aversion to movement-based quarterbacks in that era, instead immediately jumping into coaching.

By 2012, Johnson was the youngest FBS offensive coordinator in the nation at 24.

The golden rule of quarterbacks has always been it’s “we” when you’re successful and “me” when you’re not, a lesson Johnson is steeped in.

“I think it’s both,” Johnson said when asked by SI.com’s Eagles Today about his time as the Utes’ starter shaping his current mindset on blocking out any ill will. “It could be a personality trait, and I think you learn just certain things through experience. For me, it’s about trying to analyze what’s really important and just be very, very matter of fact about, okay, if something isn’t working, what is the answer? And be really, really solution-based.

“That’s just kind of how I live my life is to find solutions and problem solve. … I’ve obviously had that experience [at quarterback] and a little bit how I’m wired as well.”

Johnson has had a hand in developing Dak Prescott as the quarterback coach at Mississippi State and mentored Philly quarterback Jalen Hurts from question mark to MVP runner-up as his position mentor with the Eagles before being elevated to offensive coordinator when Shane Steichen left to become the head coach in Indianapolis.

Philadelphia averaged 28.2 points per game en route to Super Bowl LVII with Steichen running the game-day show and are at 28.1 with Johnson stepping in. The yards per game have dropped a bit from 389.1 to 364.3. The Eagles started 10-1 last season and have matched that in this campaign against a more difficult schedule.

In other words, the knocks on Johnson tend to be hollow and really a deflection by the fans in the hope of safeguarding players who may not be performing or executing up to expectations at times.

For Johnson, the only measuring stick comes from inside the NovaCare Complex.

“I think for me the biggest part is do the people that are in this building have the confidence and trust that we can go out there and execute and play to our best each and every week and try to go out there and win football games,” he said.

As for the fans who believe 10-1 with a top-tier offense isn’t good enough, they may get their wish in February with a reboot to Kevin Patullo or Alex Tanney once Johnson gets a head-coaching job.

“I think the biggest thing is you control what you can control,” Johnson said of the coaching rumors. “And ultimately what I can control is how we get ready to play each and every week and going through our process and making sure that we’re putting the guys in the best position to be successful, and we’re giving our team a chance to go out there and win every single week.

“So, there is always outside noise and stuff outside of the building that is far beyond your control. And for me, it would just be a complete waste of energy to even worry about it; we’ve got enough going on here where my focus and attention is way more pressing.”

Related: Eagles Wednesday Injury Report: Five Players DNP

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