Anthony Lynn

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 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 (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.

HC/GM Rumors: Gase, Lynn, Panthers, Shurmur

Black Monday is tomorrow, so let’s take a look at the latest coaching and GM rumors from around the league:

  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that neither man was really believed to be on the hot seat, but Jets HC Adam Gase and Chargers HC Anthony Lynn will both be back in 2020, per Adam Schefter of (h/t NFL Update on Twitter).
  • We learned yesterday that the Panthers would seek to interview Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, which David Newton of confirmed today. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report believes Rhule would leave Baylor if the right opportunity presented itself, despite signing a lengthy extension with the school back in September (Twitter link).
  • Despite speculation that the Panthers could look to move on from GM Marty Hurney, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic says owner Dave Tepper remains intent on keeping Hurney, and Hurney wants to stay (Twitter link). Tepper does want to bring in an assistant GM, and Joe Person of The Athletic offers a list of potential candidates. The problem, as NFL insider Adam Caplan observes, is that Carolina could be blocked from interviewing candidates under contract with other teams unless the Panthers’ gig comes with decision-making responsibilities (Twitter link).
  • We heard earlier today that the Browns are doing their due diligence on HC candidates, which isn’t a good sign for Freddie Kitchens. As Jeremy Fowler of tweets, the team wanted to see modest progress from Kitchens this year, which is why a loss to the Bengals on Sunday afternoon could seal his fate. But for all his faults, Kitchens remains well-liked in the building, so he’s not a goner just yet. We also heard today that Browns GM John Dorsey may be on the hot seat.
  • Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reiterates yesterday’s report that Ron Rivera is high on the Redskins‘ wish list, and that Rivera could have a new job as soon as tomorrow (video link). However, other clubs also want a crack at Rivera. One of those clubs, the Cowboys, will almost certainly move on from Jason Garrett if they are eliminated from playoff contention today, and Rapoport names Rhule, Lincoln Riley, and Rivera as names to watch for Dallas’ expected vacancy.
  • In the same report, RapSheet says Giants ownership is split on head coach Pat Shurmur, with Steve Tisch wanting to move on and John Mara not quite convinced. A win over the Eagles today could save Shurmur’s job.
  • Dan Graziano of confirms (via Twitter) that former Texans GM Rick Smith is definitely a name to watch if the Redskins move on from Bruce Allen, which they are expected to do. Graziano says it’s still unclear as to whether Smith wants to return to a front office, contrary to a report from last month, but if he is, Redskins owner Dan Snyder will be interested. Mark Maske of the Washington Post hears that Smith, who lost his wife to cancer 11 months ago, is not quite ready to return to football (Twitter link).

Fallout From Bills’ Front Office Shakeup

The Bills deciding to trade out of their No. 10 slot, when the Chiefs surrendered their 2018 first-rounder to headline a package that netted them Patrick Mahomes, indicated Doug Whaley was not going to be around much longer, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Buffalo moving down 17 spots — a move the Bills were believed to be pushing for prior to the draft — signaled a long-term plan more than one designed to help an embattled GM’s team win now. (However, Chiefs GM John Dorsey told B.J. Kissel of — Twitter link — Whaley was involved in talks that originated early this week.)

Albert Breer of notes the Bills’ chaotic front office situation goes back to 2014, when Terry and Kim Pegula took over and were surprised when Doug Marrone exercised an opt-out option that garnered him $4MM and left the Bills without a coach despite having completed a rare over-.500 season in 2014. The current Jaguars HC’s 9-7 campaign, aided the Patriots resting starters in Week 17 of that season, represents the most the Bills wins since 2004.

La Canfora notes Whaley has not gotten along especially well with any of his coaches, describing less-than-ideal relationships with both Marrone and Rex Ryan, and the one with Sean McDermott did not take off. Bill Polian declined to join the Bills in January of 2015, and La Canfora notes that decision kept Whaley in charge and helped lead to Marrone bolting on his contract.

Now running the show in Buffalo, McDermott was not happy the Patriots plucked Stephon Gilmore in free agency, La Canfora writes. The RFA decisions on Chris Hogan and Mike Gillislee did not help, either. The CBS-based reporter notes some of Pegula’s confidants advised him to fire Whaley years ago. The Bills signed Whaley to an extension last year, however.

A source categorized the Bills’ draft room this weekend as “one of the weirdest three days,” per Breer, due to the fact a leadership component wasn’t entirely present. McDermott, though, was the one who was providing the final say, Breer reports. The first-year HC was given autonomy to remove prospects from the draft board as well. Pegula said today Whaley put together the draft and the organization decided to fire him after the three-day event, Mike Rodak of relays.

Scouts were upset with Ryan’s program last year, Breer notes, adding that Bills coaches felt some of Whaley’s draft decisions — be it the trade-up for Sammy Watkins or selection of injury-risk Shaq Lawson — didn’t fit the schemes they were using. As for Watkins, it’s possible the Bills made his injury situation worse. Breer reports that the wideout’s foot injury was too severe for him to complete walkthroughs, but no one put a stop to his comeback attempt, and the pain worsened as he pushed through it to lead to a two-month shutdown. Watkins returned for the final six games but only cleared 80 receiving yards twice, albeit on a run-centric team. Already rumored to be set to decline Watkins’ fifth-year option, the Bills are probably more likely to go in that direction now that Whaley is gone, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets.

Further complicating things with McDermott: Anthony Lynn was Whaley’s first HC choice, according to Breer, and ownership went with the former Panthers DC — with whom Whaley did not have much of a relationship — while letting Lynn proceed to the Chargers’ job. Tyrod Taylor‘s return on an adjusted deal also went against Whaley’s wishes and was more in line with new OC Rick Dennison‘s. The latter was the Broncos’ OC when the team pursued Taylor in 2015.

As far as the selection of the next GM, the Pegulas might not lean on team president Russ Brandon too much, with Terry Pegula saying today the owners would ask Brandon questions if they believed they need to (Twitter link via Breer). Former Eagles president and Browns CEO Joe Banner understandably expects the new GM to be someone with close ties to McDermott, the longtime exec told Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane could well become a candidate.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Lynn, Draft, Crawford

Andy Reid plans to use Tyreek Hill more next season. After the rookie began the year as mostly a special teams-only presence, he became featured as a frequent part of the Chiefs‘ offense, and Reid wants to increase his involvement.

He was averaging 35 plays a game [in 2016],” Reid said on a SiriusXM NFL Radio appearance (via Alex Marvez of the Sporting News). “Maybe he can double that or at least take it up a couple notches and allow him to get in more in a starting role. … I’d expect him to learn that whole [playbook] by the end of all the OTAs and training camp and then be even more of a threat.”

Hill scored 12 touchdowns and became a unanimous All-Pro selection as a return man. The polarizing speedster emerged as Chiefs’ best No. 2 receiver candidate in years by catching 61 passes for 593 yards. Hill becoming a bigger part of the Chiefs’ offense lessens their need for pass-catching help. During previous Reid years, the team relied on a committee approach to fill that role.

Here’s more from the Chiefs and the rest of the league.

  • Reid addressed Eric Berry‘s status as well, wanting the Chiefs to retain the decorated UFA safety. “We love E.B. I think everybody in our building would ditto that,” Reid said. “If we can get this thing done, that’s obviously a priority in the offseason. It’s been a good marriage.” It would cost the Chiefs nearly $13MM to apply the franchise tag to Berry again, but Tyrann Mathieu‘s $12MM-AAV+ deal raised the bar for safeties since the Chiefs’ last negotiations with Chiefs management. Berry acknowledged earlier this week he believed his agent has spoken with the Chiefs about a deal. Kansas City is projected to possess $4.6MM in cap room but can create over $16MM more by releasing Jamaal Charles and Nick Foles.
  • Prior to the Chargers entering the race, Anthony Lynn saw the Bills as the best opportunity for him. The newest Los Angeles HC was connected to every team in need of a coach, save for the 49ers. “To me, [Buffalo] was the best place for me to be because I knew the personnel, I knew all the people I was working with and I think that was the quickest turnaround,” Lynn said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Although, after the Chargers became interested, Lynn said he quickly pivoted to their situation. “They have a quarterback; they have key players at every position, at skill positions, and a young, talented defense, I thought that right there was a great opportunity,” he said. “And that’s where I put all my focus, was in that job after the season was over, and thank God it came through.”
  • Senior Bowl executive director and former Browns GM Phil Savage did not speak highly of this year’s quarterback class. “It’s probably not a good year to say, ‘We’ve got to have one,’ ” Savage said, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “You never know, but there’s questions with more guys this year.” Savage isn’t the first to cast doubt on the Deshaun Watson-, DeShone Kizer– and Mitch Trubisky-fronted class. Multiple execs expressed similar sentiments recently.
  • Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford underwent shoulder surgery for the second straight offseason, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Crawford faces an uncertain future as a starter, Hill writes. The veteran lineman, though, cannot be realistically cut this year. The Cowboys, who signed him to a five-year deal in 2015, would be saddled with $10.4MM in dead money.
  • Busy retooling their defensive staff, the Saints also interviewed Redskins assistant special teams coach Brad Banta for their special teams coach opening, Adam Caplan of tweets.

Chargers To Interview Gus Bradley For DC Job

The Chargers coaching staff has seen plenty of turnover, and now there’s another name to add to the list of potential additions.’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the organization will interview Gus Bradley for the role of defensive coordinator. The former NFL head coach is the “favorite” for the gig.

Gus Bradley (vertical)Bradley has been a relatively popular name since he was fired by the Jaguars in mid-December. The 50-year-old was reportedly atop the Redskins’ list of potential defensive coordinator candidates. Bradley has a natural connection to that organization, as the coach worked under general manager Scot McCloughan when the duo was in Seattle. The Browns also reportedly reached out to Bradley regarding their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Bradley had plenty of success as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2009 through 2012. However, things didn’t go nearly as well during his head coaching tenure in Jacksonville. In his three-plus seasons with the organization, Bradley compiled a 14-48 record. His .226 winning percent is the second-lowest mark in league history.

The Chargers don’t necessarily have an opening at the position, as defensive coordinator John Pagano is still under contract. However, there seems to be a belief that recently-hired head coach Anthony Lynn will want to hire his own personnel. Bradley and Lynn have been connected throughout the hiring process, and our own Sam Robinson noted that “a Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go.”

For what it’s worth, it appears that the Chargers will be retaining offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Hire Anthony Lynn As Head Coach

In less than a week, the Chargers have a new city and a new head coach.’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the franchise has hired former Bills coach Anthony Lynn. It will be a four-year contract for the new head coach. Lynn entered his Thursday interview as the clear frontrunner for the gig, and reports last night indicated that the organization was finalizing a deal.

The Bills promoted Lynn twice this season, elevating him from running backs coach to OC in September and made him their interim head coach in December. Lynn was viewed as the frontrunner to be the next Bills’ full-time HC earlier during the hiring period, but the organization agreed to a deal with Sean McDermott. Lynn was the only candidate connected to all six teams with vacancies this offseason.

This deal completes a rapid ascent for the 48-year-old Lynn, who served as running backs coach for five different franchises from 2003-16. But the Bills became one of the best ground attacks in football under his guidance this season, and Lynn is in line to have a chance to enhance the Chargers’ offense.

Lynn will consider keeping OC Ken Whisenhunt on offense, Albert Breer of tweets, and former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a prime candidate to become the Bolts’ next DC. Bradley has already interviewed to become the Redskins’ DC but has been connected to Lynn throughout this process. A Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go, but that pairing could be set to work together in Los Angeles.

It’s been quite the eventful 24 hours in a city that had few of those regarding the NFL for around two decades. The Rams named Redskins OC Sean McVay as their next HC — and youngest in NFL history — while the Chargers formally announced they are planning to relocate to L.A. And they’ll now have a coach to help steer that transition, one that wasn’t certain as the franchise interviewed five other candidates to succeed Mike McCoy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Extend DC Mike Smith

The Chargers’ coaching search will no longer include Mike Smith, who signed an extension to remain the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator, Adam Schefter of reports (on Twitter). Smith also withdrew his name from the Chargers’ HC search earlier today, per Schefter (via Twitter).

Smith will now coach a second season with the Bucs, who hired the former Falcons coach to replace Leslie Frazier last year. The newly branded Los Angeles Chargers will continue to go through their options after Smith, Vance Joseph and Sean McDermott removed their names from consideration due to respective job offers elsewhere.

Anthony Lynn remains a strong candidate for the Bolts’ HC gig, with the former Bills interim head coach entering his interview today as the frontrunner to become the relocating franchise’s next sideline leader, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Lynn remains at his Chargers interview, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets. The Chargers have interviewed six coaches for their HC vacancy, with Lynn being the only one to do so after news of the team’s relocation to Los Angeles became public.

Smith interviewed for the Chargers’ job last week, becoming the first candidate to do so. The 57-year-old coach also interviewed for the Jaguars’ HC job. His initial Tampa Bay defense ranked 23rd, with the unit falling off its top-10 perch from 2015. Frazier’s defense slotted 10th in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.