The 49ers are hiring Anthony Lynn as their new Assistant Head Coach (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Lynn will be tasked with helping to guide the 49ers’ offense with a focus on the ground game, Schefter hears.
Lynn, 53, spent four years as the Chargers’ head coach. His highpoint came in 2018 as he guided the Bolts to a 12-4 record and a playoff win. 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 in those final two campaigns.
Lynn spent the 2021 season as the Lions’ offensive coordinator, but head coach Dan Campbelldidn’t invite him back for ’22. The Lions averaged just 16.8 points per game during Lynn’s eight games as the play-caller, and they failed to record a win during that time. In the following eight contests, they averaged 19.25 points per game, squeezing out two victories and a tie.
Still, Schefter hears that Lynn had a healthy market in this cycle, garnering offers in the pro and NCAA ranks. Despite his lackluster run in Detroit, he’s still regarded as a solid offensive mind, particularly when it comes to the ground game.
For now, Lynn is set to report to Mike McDaniel, though he’s also in the mix for the Dolphins’ head coaching job.
In one of the less surprising moves of “Black Monday,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell confirmed in his Monday morning press conference that offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will not remain a part of the coaching staff in Detroit.
Coming off being fired by the Chargers last season, Lynn took the role of play caller under first-year head coach Dan Campbell. After starting the season with eight straight losses, Campbell relieved Lynn of his play calling duties. The Lions proceeded to finish 3-3 over their last six games and it became apparent that Lynn was a lame duck in his position.
Lynn’s resume isn’t terrible as he left Los Angeles boasting a winning record as a head coach. In his first two seasons leading the Chargers, they finished 2nd in the division and even nabbed a Wild Card spot in his second year, winning a playoff game before getting beat in the Divisional Round. Lynn has had success in the league as a running backs coach and has strong leadership qualities that his players respect. He should find a job in the NFL again, before long.
As for the Lions open offensive coordinator position, Campbell will need to decided whether he would like to continue calling plays himself or if he wants to hire an offensive coordinator who can run the show. We’ll see that search play out as “Black Monday” continues to create new candidates for open jobs.
The Lions and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn are set to end their relationship after just one season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The parties are expected to part ways following Detroit’s 2021 finale this afternoon.
As it turns out, Lynn may have been better off following through on his original plan to take the year off. In November, he was stripped of his play-calling duties, and although he continued to help run the offensive meetings and structure the game plan and rushing attack, he conceded that he was not happy about the loss of responsibility (Twitter link via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News).
The Lions were averaging only 16.8 points per game during Lynn’s eight games as the offensive play-caller, and they failed to record a win during that time. In the following eight contests, they averaged 19.25 points per game and squeezed out two victories and a tie. Correlation does not equal causation, and myriad factors have contributed to another lost season for the Lions, but his time in the Motor City clearly did not help Lynn’s stock as a coach.
The 53-year-old may end up having to accept a position coach post to start working his way back up the ladder (he has previously served as the RBs coach of the Jaguars, Cowboys, Browns, Jets, and Bills). The fact that he is a highly-respected figure in the league will certainly help him get a job somewhere, and his HC experience could be especially useful to someone who lands a head coaching gig for the first time in 2022. He might also be interested in a job in the college ranks.
The Lions, meanwhile, will have to search for a new OC. Ben Johnson, the club’s TE coach who was appointed pass game coordinator when Campbell took over play-calling responsibilities from Lynn, is perhaps the top in-house option. It will also be interesting to see if Campbell wants to remain the play-caller going forward.
Lions QB Jared Goff is dealing with an oblique injury, so as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports, Tim Boyle will be Detroit’s starting signal-caller in the club’s matchup against the Browns this afternoon. It will be the first start of the 27-year-old’s career.
Boyle served as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup in Green Bay over the past several seasons, and though he had attempted just four career passes, the Lions inked him to a one-year, $2.5MM deal in March after he was non-tendered by the Packers (who were making room for Jordan Love). Unfortunately, Boyle’s strong training camp was marred by a thumb injury, and he was forced to start the 2021 campaign on IR as a result. He was designated to return earlier this month.
In the meantime, David Blough has been operating as Goff’s clipboard holder, and he will stay in his QB2 role today. Schefter says that if Boyle should struggle — he only recently returned to practice, so he is not as sharp as he could be — then Blough could be sent into the game. Because the Lions also play their traditional Thanksgiving contest in just a few days, either Boyle or Blough will likely be in line to start on Turkey Day as well.
It has been another difficult year for the Lions, who managed a tie with the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers last week to improve to 0-8-1. Detroit hoped that Goff, acquired in this offseason’s blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, would be able to recapture the Pro Bowl form he displayed in the 2017-18 seasons, but he has largely struggled. Though O-line issues and a dearth of receiver talent are at least partially to blame, Goff’s 84.0 QB rating would represent his lowest mark since his seven-game rookie output. As such, Schefter confirms that the Lions’ quarterback situation for the rest of this season and beyond is unsettled.
The team has no realistic way of getting out of Goff’s contract until after the 2022 season, so he will almost certainly be back next year. But it does not sound like he is guaranteed to get his starting job back even when he is fully recovered, and the Lions will likely be in a position to draft one of 2022’s top collegiate passers in the spring. Starting today, Boyle will try to make his case to be involved in the conversation.
Of course, Boyle will have head coach Dan Campbell calling his offensive plays. Campbell took over play-calling duties from OC Anthony Lynn for the Pittsburgh game, and that arrangement will presumably hold through the end of the year. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Campbell — who still has the full respect of his locker room — is not planning to make any in-season coaching changes, but there will probably be some sort of shakeup to the staff in the offseason.
September 30th, 2021 at 12:33pm CST by Zachary Links
USC reportedly has Anthony Lynn on the radar. However, the Lions’ offensive coordinator says he hasn’t been contacted by anyone with the Trojans (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
Lynn says he remains completely focused on the Lions, who are still in search of their first win this year. At the same time, he declined to say whether he would consider the opportunity at USC after the season. While the athletic department has yet to reach out, it’s been reported that boosters have made contact.
Lynn, 52, spent four years as the Chargers’ head coach up until he was canned in January. Weeks later, he agreed to join Dan Campbell as the Lions’ OC, but Lynn initially planned to take the year off.
“I’ve been on the sideline since I was six years old. I have not had a break since I was six years old, literally, every single fall,” Lynn said over the summer. “I really had my mind made up that I was going to take a gap year travel a little bit, go see some other teams, visit some of the coaches that I know, and see how they’re doing things. I had made my mind up to sit out this year, but then when Dan called, you know, that changed everything.”
Eric Bieniemy has also been linked to the USC vacancy and some have wondered whether Urban Meyer could get in the mix. For his part, Meyer says he’s committed to the Jaguars.
September 28th, 2021 at 5:02pm CST by Sam Robinson
Anthony Lynn relocated to Detroit this offseason, doing so after a four-year Los Angeles stay. The longtime NFL coach would be interested in moving back to L.A., should a rather notable opportunity emerge.
USC boosters have reached out to Lynn about the school’s head coaching vacancy, Jim Trotter of NFL.com tweets. While no official contact between the parties has taken place, Trotter adds Lynn would be interested in the high-profile college position.
Lynn, 52, has been an NFL lifer, playing eight seasons as a running back before breaking into coaching the year he retired (2000). He has not skipped an NFL season since, though he planned to this year after the Chargers fired him in January. The Lions hired Lynn as their OC soon after his Bolts ouster, and he has returned to a play-calling role.
Eric Bieniemy joined Lynn on the USC radar, while speculation has linked Urban Meyer to the job — to the point the Jaguars HC has needed to deny rumors about him returning to the college ranks. Bieniemy would join Lynn in being interested, though he obviously did not indicate this publicly. It is also unclear if either would take the job if it meant leaving their current post before season’s end. That would almost certainly be necessary.
Often times when NFL head coaches get fired, they sit out the following season to regroup and plot their next move. Not Anthony Lynn.
Lynn moved quickly after he was let go by the Chargers, accepting a role on Dan Campbell’s inaugural Lions staff as his offensive coordinator. But apparently Lynn’s original plan was in fact to sit out the 2021 season, he revealed on a recent episode of ‘Compas on the Beat’ podcast, via Fernando Ramirez of SI.com. “I was actually going to sit this year out, but when they called, I had to go because I wanted to be a part of that. I knew it’s going to be something special,” he said.
“I’ve been on the sideline since I was six years old. I have not had a break since I was six years old, literally, every single fall,” Lynn explained. “I really had my mind made up that I was going to take a gap year travel a little bit, go see some other teams, visit some of the coaches that I know, and see how they’re doing things. I had made my mind up to sit out this year, but then when Dan called, you know, that changed everything.”
Not to question Lynn’s sincereness, but he did also talk to the Seahawks about their OC opening, so it appears Campbell might not have been the only coach he was willing to work for. Either way, his fondness for Campbell seems very real. Lynn was the running backs coach of the 2005 Cowboys team that Campbell played on, so there was already a connection here.
Lynn has never been a full-time OC in the league, and wasn’t the primary play-caller during his time as Chargers head coach, so it’ll be very interesting to see how things work out in Detroit. He’s got Jared Goff at his disposal for his first season.
February 15th, 2021 at 10:26pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
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.
Oh, how much can change in a year. On this date literally last year, the Chargers officially signed head coach AnthonyLynn 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.
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.
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.