Anthony Lynn

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.

COVID-19 Latest: Testing, Lynn, Draft, Fans

The NFL will extend its daily COVID-19 testing period through Sept. 5, the NFLPA announced. This comes after the league declared the positive test rate of Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals to be lower than 1%. The league and the union’s original daily testing agreement ran through August 19. When the parties agreed on that time window, the agreement was they would move to every-other-day testing if the positive rate ended up below 5% in that period. But the sides made a preemptive move to err on the side of caution.

New protocols will also include players who test positive undergoing an EKG, blood tests for heart function and an echocardiogram, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Heart complications are now being associated with COVID-19. Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez encountered a heart issue after he contracted the virus, and part of the reasoning behind the Big Ten postponing its season stemmed from at least 10 conference players battling myocarditis — a rare condition featuring inflammation of the heart muscle — according to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach (subscription required).

Here is the latest on the league’s battle with the coronavirus:

  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn revealed during the first episode of Hard Knocks he contracted COVID-19 earlier in the offseason. The fourth-year Bolts HC experienced symptoms. He is the third head coach known to have contracted the virus, following Sean Payton and Doug Pederson.
  • The Big Ten and Pac-12 attempting to play spring football may now prompt the NFL to change its mind regarding the draft. The NFL “would have to” consider moving off its late-April draft date if colleges play their seasons in the spring, Maske tweets. Last month, the NFL’s stance was firm on keeping the draft in April. But with conferences taking last-resort measures of postponing seasons indefinitely, the league appears to be understandably changing its tune. No NFL draft has occurred before a college season’s conclusion since the 1960s.
  • Add Washington to the list of teams who will play home games without fans this season. The franchise announced the decision Wednesday. Washington, however, added that this policy would be subject to change if the conditions surrounding the pandemic improve over the course of the season. Washington joins the Giants, Jets and Raiders as teams to announce their home games will not involve spectators.
  • Other teams have not given up on having fans at games. The Chiefs, Cowboys and Patriots are among teams working on a pod system, which has gained the most traction among potential solutions, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets. The goal of this unusual setup would be to place clusters of masked fans together at different sections of stadiums, Robinson adds (on Twitter). Considering the social distancing component in COVID-19 safety recommendations, this would be an interesting setup. But a month away from the season, most teams’ attendance plans still appear fluid.

Chargers HC: We Took “A Look” At Cam Newton

The Chargers have been mentioned as one of the likeliest landing spots for quarterback Cam Newton ever since the Panthers released the former MVP. Even after Los Angeles added Justin Herbert in this year’s draft, Newton was still considered a possibility given that he — if healthy — would represent an upgrade over presumptive starting signal-caller Tyrod Taylor.

And the Chargers themselves did give the matter some thought. In a recent interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio (story via Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports), Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn conceded that the Bolts considered signing Newton.

“Absolutely, Cam is a tremendous quarterback,” Lynn said. “He’s been MVP of this league, he’s led his team to the Super Bowl and he’s healthy now from what I hear. Cam is going to be on somebody’s roster and he’s going to help somebody win a few games, but yeah, we did take a look at that, sure.”

Lynn previously indicated that he was interested in Newton, but this marks the first time that he explicitly said so. When asked why the Chargers passed on the three-time Pro Bowler, Lynn reiterated his feelings towards his current QBs.

“I feel really good about the quarterback room that I have,” he said. “With Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick — those are guys that a lot of people don’t talk about, but [Stick] was a Division I AA — he won like three national championships. He’s a hell of a leader, hell of a professional and I think he has a bright future in this league one day.”

When factoring Herbert into the mix, it certainly seems as if Newton is no longer a candidate for the Chargers, barring injury. The same can be said for the Patriots, another club viewed as a potential suitor. So Newton, who has said that he is willing to be patient, will need to wait for an injury to, or an extremely disappointing performance from, a current starting quarterback if he wants a QB1 role in 2020. However, he may be warming to the idea of a backup role, which would give him a chance to re-establish himself and perhaps become the best free agent QB available in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers’ Anthony Lynn Signs Extension

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn will not be a lame duck in 2020. The Chargers recently inked Lynn to a one-year extension that keeps him under contract through 2021, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Williams’ ESPN colleague, Adam Schefter, reported earlier this month that the two sides had agreed to an extension.

The move obviously represents something of a vote of confidence in Lynn and suggests that he won’t be on the hot seat this year, despite the team’s disappointing 2019. The Chargers finished out with a 5-11 record, but they still believe that Lynn is the best man to lead them moving forward.

The new deal for Lynn addresses at least one question mark for the Bolts, but plenty remain for them this offseason. The Chargers’ first priority will be to figure out the future of their quarterback position.

Longtime franchise face Philip Rivers recently bought a home in Florida, leading many to speculate that a divorce is just around the corner. However, the Chargers haven’t made a firm decision on what they’ll do with No. 17 – they could use the franchise tag to keep him, rather than negotiating a fresh deal with the aging vet. Alternatively, they could allow Rivers to walk and promote Tyrod Taylor to the starting role. Beyond those two QBs, there are ample possibilities on the open market, including future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

In three seasons as the Chargers’ head coach, Lynn has coached the team to a 26-22 record. In 2018, his second year at the helm, the Chargers made the playoffs with a 12-4 record and advanced to the Divisional Round before they were downed by Brady & Co.

In the eyes of GM Tom Telesco, Lynn was not to blame for the Chargers’ down year – there were injuries abound and Rivers’ inconsistency certainly did not help matters. This year, the Chargers will have upwards of $48MM in cap room, plus the No. 6 overall pick, as they look to get back on the right track.