Anthony Lynn

NFC Notes: Lynn, Lions, Goldman, Bears, Gardeck, Cardinals

The Lions got Jared Goff back in the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, but with all their newfound draft capital they very well may take another passer early. They’ve got the seventh overall pick in April, plus two future first-rounders from the Rams now. Even if they do draft a young quarterback, it sounds like new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn would prefer Goff to play initially. After acknowledging that if there were a dramatic difference in training camp he would have to play the better player to keep the locker room, Lynn explained his belief that a rookie quarterback should sit at first, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’d love to see that rookie sit and watch for a little while. If he could watch for half the season or watch for the first year like Patrick Mahomes did (behind Alex Smith), I believe he can learn so much from the right veteran quarterback because a lot of rookies come into this league and they’re not ready,” the Lions’ new offensive play-caller said. “The speed of the game is twice as fast as it was in college and they don’t have success. And in today’s environment with social media things get out of whack and some of these guys lose their confidence and, hell, they never get it back. So if I can sit a rookie, I will. If I can.

Of course, Lynn was the head coach of the Chargers this past year when they initially started Tyrod Taylor over first-round pick Justin Herbert. An injury knocked out Taylor after only one game, and Herbert took the job and never looked back.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Many teams lost full-time starters due to COVID-19 opt outs for 2020, including the Bears with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Goldman started at least 15 games at nose tackle in each of the three previous seasons for Chicago before sitting out this past year. Fortunately for the Bears, new defensive coordinator Sean Desai said Monday that the team believes they’ll have him back in 2021, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Due to the league’s opt-out rules, Goldman’s contract, which owes him $4.75MM next year, tolled to 2021 automatically.
  • Cardinals outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck had a breakout 2020 season when he recorded seven sacks, but unfortunately it ended in injury. He was placed on injured reserve with a couple of games left to go, but we didn’t know at the time how severe it was. In an Instagram post last month, Gardeck revealed it was a torn ACL that he suffered. An UDFA in 2018 out of D2 school Sioux Falls, he was just a special teamer his first two years. He still was only getting limited snaps this past year but made the most of them, racking up the seven sacks despite playing less than ten percent of the defensive snaps. He had three multi-sack games. Unfortunately due to how late his ACL tear came, he should be considered questionable for Week 1 right now.
  • In case you missed it, the 49ers are reportedly either going to take a ‘big swing’, or stick with Jimmy Garoppolo.

This Date In Transactions History: Chargers Extend HC Anthony Lynn

Oh, how much can change in a year. On this date literally last year, the Chargers officially signed head coach Anthony Lynn to a one-year extension that would keep him in Los Angeles through the 2021 season. If you’ve been following along at home since the end of the regular season, Lynn is no longer the head coach of the Chargers.

Let’s recap where the Chargers were on February 13, 2020. The team was coming off an ugly 5-11 campaign, the worst record of Lynn’s (then) three seasons with the team. Naturally, the head coach found himself on the hot seat, but the organization quickly killed that narrative by handing Lynn a one-year extension. The vote of confidence made a bit of sense; Lynn had some success during his first two years at the helm, guiding the Chargers to a 21-11 record and a playoff victory. Plus, as GM Tom Telesco noted following the 2019 season, the team’s abysmal play shouldn’t have been attributed to coaching. Rather, the 2019 Chargers dealt with a long list of injuries and inconsistent quarterback play from Philip Rivers.

Of course, in hindsight, the one-year extension should have been the writing on the wall. If the organization was truly committed to their head coach, they would have given him a lengthier extension. Instead, they effectively made the 2020 campaign a “prove-it” season for Lynn (or, if the organization hadn’t ultimately fired him, they basically just delayed his lame-duck status for one year). In other words, the front office was clearly already preparing for a potential coaching change when they handed Lynn his extension last year.

The Chargers would get off to a brutal 3-9 start to begin the 2020 campaign, with six of those losses being decided by less than a touchdown. Naturally, those close losses landed on the lap of the head coach. Despite a four-game winning streak to end the season and incredible play from rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, Lynn was fired by the Chargers back in January.

It didn’t take long for Lynn to find another gig. After discussing a role with the Seahawks, the 52-year-old ended up joining the Lions as the offensive coordinator on Dan Campbell‘s new staff. The Chargers pivoted to a defensive-minded coach to replace Lynn, hiring Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be the 17th head coach in franchise history.

On this date in 2020, maybe there was some optimism that Lynn could end up sticking around in Los Angeles (although the comment section of our article tells a different story). In reality, it was a clear sign that the Chargers were already planning for a future with a different head coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Anthony Lynn Finalizing OC Deal

The Lions will go with the most experienced coach in their offensive coordinator search pool. They are finalizing a deal with Anthony Lynn, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic tweets.

Lynn spent the past four seasons as the Chargers’ head coach and was the Bills’ OC in 2016. Lynn joined several position coaches in the running for the Detroit job and was linked to the Seattle OC position as well. But his bounce-back opportunity will come in the Motor City.

This will be a reunion between Lynn and new Lions HC Dan Campbell. During Campbell’s playing career, he was with the Cowboys in 2005. Lynn coached Dallas’ running backs that season, during a 14-year run as an NFL running backs coach. This connection helped bring Lynn to Detroit, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting (via Twitter) Lynn wanted to work with Campbell and DC Aaron Glenn again. Officially hired as Lions DC Saturday, Glenn was also on the 2005 Cowboys’ roster.

Lynn, 52, beat out Ravens QBs coach James Urban, former Jets OC John Morton, Steelers wideouts coach Ike Hilliard and Bills QBs coach Ken Dorsey for this post. The former Chargers HC brings far more experience than this lot of position coaches and will be in position to call plays again — something he did not do this past season with the Chargers.

While Lynn was not the Bolts’ primary play-caller during his stay as their head coach, each of the team’s four offenses in this time ranked in the top 11 in total yardage. This past season began a promising new chapter for the Chargers, who saw Justin Herbert break out quicker than expected — en route to becoming the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite — under the tutelage of Lynn and OC Shane Steichen.

The veteran coach will now attempt to lead a Lions offense in transition. Matthew Stafford remains under contract but has been mentioned in trade speculation, with the Lions having hired a new coach and GM this month. The Lions also have starting wideouts Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones set for free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anthony Lynn, Ken Dorsey On Lions’ Radar

After hiring Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator, the Lions are moving fast on their offensive coordinator job. Two more candidates have emerged for Detroit’s play-calling post.

Former Chargers HC Anthony Lynn and current Bills QBs coach Ken Dorsey are on Detroit’s radar for this position, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. New Lions HC Dan Campbell said he has interviewed four OC candidates already, per Birkett (on Twitter). Ravens QBs coach James Urban and Steelers wide receivers instructor Ike Hilliard are in the mix for the gig.

This makes two OC positions to which Lynn has been connected. He has also engaged in discussions with Pete Carroll regarding Seattle’s play-calling role. Lynn, 52, spent the past four seasons as the Chargers’ head coach. The Bolts fired him shortly after the season ended, moving to Brandon Staley.

Lynn took the Chargers to the playoffs in 2018, with a 12-4 record, and oversaw Justin Herbert‘s rapid development this past season. However, Lynn was not the Bolts’ primary play-caller. He spent most of the 2016 season calling plays in Buffalo, after an early-season promotion to offensive coordinator.

A former decorated college quarterback, Dorsey has been an NFL QBs coach since the 2013 season. He is one of many players and staffers to migrate from Charlotte to Buffalo, working as Panthers QBs coach for five seasons before signing on with the Bills to work in that same role in 2019.

The centerpiece of Dorsey’s credentials for a coordinator move will obviously be Josh Allen‘s rise from inaccurate prospect to MVP candidate over the past year. However, Dorsey was also with Carolina during the franchise’s most recent Super Bowl season — when Cam Newton soared to MVP honors in 2015. Dorsey, 39, interviewed for the Bills’ OC position in 2017 but has worked under current Buffalo play-caller Brian Daboll over the past two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Anthony Lynn Discussing OC Role

Not long after the Chargers fired Anthony Lynn, the veteran coach is expected to have options to return as an offensive coordinator for the 2021 season. The four-year Bolts HC is under consideration for multiple OC jobs, according to ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini (on Twitter).

Thus far, Lynn has been most closely connected to the Seahawks. He has spoken with Pete Carroll about the job, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport report (via Twitter). It does not sound like Lynn has committed to coaching next season, but he will be an option in Seattle. Lynn, 52, has coached in every season since his playing career ended in 2000.

The Seahawks fired three-year OC Brian Schottenheimer earlier this week; Lynn is the first name to be connected to the NFC West champions. While other names may emerge, Russell Wilson wants a say in the team’s next play-calling hire.

I think it’s vital, it’s critical, super significant, obviously, that I’m a part of that process,” Wilson said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Coach and I have definitely been talking about that, [GM John Schneider] too as well. We’ve had some … great dialogue about the thought process of who we want, the leader … the innovator, all that kind of different stuff that you want. I think that’s the super-critical thing, obviously at this point in my career because you spend every day with that person.”

Prior to becoming the Chargers HC in the team’s first season back in Los Angeles, Lynn served as offensive coordinator in Buffalo. However, Lynn took over early in the 2016 season after the Bills fired Greg Roman. Prior to that season, Lynn primarily served as a running backs coach. Lynn coached running backs for five teams from 2003-16 before rising to the coordinator level. He was not the primary play-caller in Los Angeles, but the offense-oriented head coach oversaw four straight top-11 offenses in L.A. OC Shane Steichen called the Bolts’ plays this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Fire Anthony Lynn

The Chargers and Anthony Lynn are parting ways. On Monday morning, the Chargers formally announced that their head coach has been relieved of his duties. 

The Chargers had a great deal of respect for Lynn and they were reportedly 50/50 on whether to keep him. But, after huddling up on Monday, Bolts brass decided to move on.

Lynn went 9-7 his first year as the Chargers’ head coach, followed by a 12-4 showing and a playoff win in Year Two. Things took a turn after that, however. The Chargers went just 5-11 last season and 7-9 in 2020, losing a mind-boggling amount of close games both times. The slide continued this year, thanks in part to some in-game blunders by Lynn. The Chargers rallied a bit after getting bumped from playoff contention, but it wasn’t enough to save Lynn’s job.

The Chargers job should hold lots of appeal, and not just because they’re in sunny Los Angeles. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been a revelation. Herbert, 22, set the rookie record for passing touchdowns while posting the second-highest total in passing yards. There’s also ample cap room, plus skill position and defensive talent. That includes All-Pro safety Derwin James, who is set to return after losing the 2020 season to injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chargers, Anthony Lynn

As the regular season winds down, we’ve got a pretty good sense of what’s going to happen with all the coaching decisions. One of the only things still truly up in the air is the status of Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. Apparently no decision has been made, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says that’ll be the case until Los Angeles brass gets together on Monday (Twitter video link).

To that end, Lynn is the “biggest wild card” of the coaching carousel, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Fowler adds that people he’s talked to around the league believe it’s 50/50 as to whether Lynn gets brought back for a fifth season. There are apparently slight differences of opinion here, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports said during a Sunday morning TV hit that he believes Lynn will likely be a goner after Monday’s meeting (Twitter video link).

Lynn went 9-7 his first year and then 12-4 the following season, winning a playoff game, but things collapsed quickly after that. The Chargers went just 5-11 last season and 7-9 in 2020, losing a mind-boggling amount of close games both times. It looked in the middle of the season like Lynn was a lame-duck as he made a series of in-game blunders and the Chargers stood at 3-9.

But the team rallied right after getting eliminated from playoff contention, winning four straight and potentially saving Lynn’s job in the process. Justin Herbert has been a revelation in his rookie season, but the coaching has often been questionable to put it kindly.

If the gig were to open up it would look very attractive on paper, as Herbert looks like a star in the making while there’s a ton of talent at the skill positions and on defense. All-Pro safety Derwin James missed the entire 2020 campaign but should be returning to play at an elite level in 2021. We’ll know more about Lynn’s fate tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching/GM Notes: Hurney, Lewis, Morris, Lynn, Gettleman

The Panthers made a big splash Monday by firing GM Marty Hurney. Although the timing was interesting since Carolina’s season will be over in just a couple of weeks, it wasn’t the result of any sudden developments or changes. The move had apparently been in the works for a while, as Albert Breer of SI.com was told that Hurney was in the final year of his contract and that he and owner David Tepper had been talking about an exit for weeks now (Twitter link). Breer adds that the analytics-minded Tepper wants to “modernize” the personnel side. As for names to keep an eye on for the now vacant role, Breer tweets that 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters is one to watch. Peters played for Panthers head coach Matt Rhule back when Rhule was the defensive line coach at UCLA.

It sounds like Tepper knows more or less what he wants, and accordingly the relatively new owner told the media on Monday he won’t be using an outside search firm like some teams for the GM opening. To clarify on the modernization, David Newton of ESPN.com reiterates that the Panthers will look for a new GM who “is driven by data and analytics, characteristics that didn’t define” Hurney. Carolina seems to have found their coach of the future with Rhule but they’ve still got plenty of questions to address moving forward, like whether or not Teddy Bridgewater is the long-term answer under center. Who they hire here should tell us a lot about the direction they plan to take.

Now that we’ve broken down most of the Hurney fallout, let’s pivot to the rest of the front office and coaching staff talk around the league:

  • Former Texans GM Rick Smith looks like a hot candidate this cycle. Smith recently interviewed with the Falcons, and sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that he’ll interview with the Lions soon. That’s not all, as sources also told La Canfora that Washington is interested in having Smith run their football operations. We heard back in January that Washington almost hired Smith before electing not to hire a front office head for the time being, so this isn’t too surprising. VP of player personnel Kyle Smith is currently overseeing things for Washington, but sources told La Canfora that the team is “very likely to fill a traditional general manager spot” this offseason. Smith left Houston after the 2017 season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is generally well regarded around the league.
  • Speaking of guys looking to get back into the league after a hiatus, we might not have seen the last of Marvin Lewis. The former long-time Bengals coach is “under consideration for several head coaching opportunities in 2021,” sources told La Canfora. Lewis was never able to make a deep playoff run in Cincy, but he undeniably did an incredible job turning them from a perennial laughing stock and doormat to annual contender in the AFC North for a while. After spending an impressive 16 season roaming the Bengals’ sideline, he’s spent the past couple years on Herm Edwards’ staff at Arizona State. La Canfora writes that “numerous teams have indicated an interest in speaking to Lewis,” although he doesn’t specifically name any. Lewis reportedly received strong interest from both the Cowboys and Washington during last year’s cycle, and it sounds like this could be the year he makes it back in.
  • Finally, a few notes via Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. The Falcons managed to turn their season around a bit after firing Dan Quinn, although things have started to go off the rails again in recent weeks. The initial success led to some buzz that interim coach and former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris could be a candidate for the full-time job, although Pauline throws some cold water on that. Pauline says there’s a “very slight chance” they keep Morris, noting people who he has talked to won’t completely rule it out. That being said, he hears that Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy is still at the top of their list.
  • Anthony Lynn and the Chargers have now won back to back games, but Pauline writes he’ll need a “miracle” to save his job. One source he talked to put the odds of Lynn returning at 20 percent, and he writes that’s a best-case scenario for the embattled Los Angeles coach. Lynn has made a number of high profile game management blunders in recent weeks, and Pauline writes the consensus of “well-connected” people is that he’ll be fired. With a talented roster and a stud young quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ job should be an attractive one.
  • While a lot of these decisions already appear to be more or less set in stone, Pauline says that Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s status is genuinely undecided and up in the air. He writes that it’ll depend on what happens the rest of the year (presumably whether the G-Men win the NFC East), and that there’s been no “definitive decision.” However, Pauline does say that as of right now he hears the Giants are “more comfortable” getting rid of Gettleman and bringing in someone new to work alongside first-year coach Joe Judge, who people inside the building are apparently “ecstatic” about. As one that could seemingly go either way, the situation in New York will be one of the most interesting to monitor the last couple weeks. What happens with Gettleman could also very well determine whether the team runs it back with Daniel Jones or looks for a new quarterback this offseason.

Chargers To Evaluate Anthony Lynn After Season

Anthony Lynn is safe, for now. The Chargers head coach is on the hot seat, but the Bolts plan to evaluate their head coach after the season is through (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Things aren’t looking great for Lynn after the Bolts were blanked 45-0 by the Patriots on Sunday. The home loss dropped them to 3-9 and, unless they finish on a much stronger note, Lynn probably won’t see a fifth season in L.A.

Out of respect for Lynn, the Chargers plan to at least let him finish out the season. He’s widely regarded in the building (and across the league) and it was just two years ago that he guided the club to a 12-4 finish. This year, the Chargers were cautiously optimistic about their prospects with Tyrod Taylor serving as the bridge to No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert. Up until Sunday, Herbert exceeded all expectations. Unfortunately, the Chargers have blown several potential wins, thanks in part to iffy play-calling.

The Chargers haven’t canned a coach midway through the season in more than 20 years. They plan to keep it that way, even after Sunday’s debacle.

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HC/GM Rumors: Lynn, Harbaugh, Bears

Three head coaches and two GMs have already been fired this season, and there will be more dismissals to come. We learned this morning that Eagles HC Doug Pederson is on the hot seat, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Chargers HC Anthony Lynn is in danger of losing his job as well.

The Bolts gave Lynn a modest vote of confidence this offseason by handing him a one-year extension through 2021, but despite the emergence of rookie signal-caller Justin Herbert, Lynn’s squad has limped to a 3-8 record. Several of those losses have been of the heartbreaking variety that Chargers fans have become accustomed to, and Lynn’s in-game decisions have been called into question.

The 51-year-old is highly-regarded in the Chargers’ building, and he did lead his club to a 12-4 record two seasons ago. If he does get fired, he probably won’t have a difficult time finding another HC gig.

Now for more from the HC/GM rumor mill:

  • Jim Harbaugh‘s days with the University of Michigan appear to be numbered, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says the former 49ers HC is eyeing an NFL return. Florio adds that a number of clubs are already “doing their homework” on Harbaugh, who could be one of a number of prominent college coaches looking to make a leap to the pros.
  • A few weeks ago, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said the Bears “could” move on from HC Matt Nagy at season’s end. Now, La Canfora says it’s more likely than not that Nagy will be ousted and that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald will be Chicago’s top choice for Nagy’s replacement.
  • Although Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has drawn plenty of interest and is expected to get his first HC job this offseason, Kansas City quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka is also a name to watch, per La Canfora. We knew that the Eagles were interested in Kafka as an OC last offseason, and JLC says the 33-year-old former QB also had the opportunity to take a head coaching interview. Kafka declined, as he wanted to continue to learn under Andy Reid, but he will be a top target for HC and OC openings in 2021.
  • As far as GM jobs go, former Giants general manager Jerry Reese is expected to draw interest for the Lions‘ GM opening, as La Canfora writes. Reese, who was fired by Big Blue in 2017, wants to return to an NFL front office and has the support from advisors to the Ford family (including Ernie Accorsi, whom Reese succeeded as Giants GM in 2007).
  • The Texans are expected to interview former Chiefs and Browns GM John Dorsey, according to La Canfora. Dorsey was fired by Cleveland at the end of last season, but it would be fair to blame more of the Browns’ disappointing 2019 campaign on former head coach Freddie Kitchens than on Dorsey. After all, Cleveland is now poised for a playoff berth with a roster that Dorsey largely constructed, and Dorsey also has ties to Bieniemy, who has been heavily connected to Houston’s HC job.
  • An unfortunate neck injury may have brought an end to A.Q. Shipley‘s playing career, but he will get the chance to join the Buccaneers‘ coaching staff, as Carmen Vitali of the team’s official website writes. Shipley has long been a favorite of Tampa HC Bruce Arians, who believes the veteran center has all the makings of an excellent coach.