Anthony Lynn: Timeline and Why it is Time for Him to Go

  • Anthony Lynn
  • los angeles chargers
By Tyler Lawrence December 4, 2020 0 Comment
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Here is a brief history of Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn‘s time with the team and the primary reason why it is time to relieve him of his duties.

The San Diego Chargers Move to Los Angeles

Before Anthony Lynn became Head Coach of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017, the team was already in flux.

Owner Dean Spanos had just decided to move two hours north after failing to come to terms with the city of San Diego on the building of a new stadium, an effort that started in 2003. The Chargers had called San Diego home dating back to 1961 after their inaugural 1960 season played in Los Angeles. They played in Balboa Stadium from 1961-1966, and Jack Murphy Stadium ” The Murph” from 1967-2016 (renamed Qualcomm Stadium in 1997).

As you could probably expect, fans were not thrilled when they found out their team of 50 years would be moving to their rival city of Los Angeles.

The Chargers Looking For a Head Coach to Handle the Transition

Anthony Lynn was not well known to many fans, but he came from the Rex Ryan coaching tree and had interviewed for multiple head-coaching positions starting in 2015. His biggest knock might have been the fact that he had never spent a full season having offensive coordinator duties. Lynn began his coaching career after he retired as a player in 1999 and spent most of his career coaching running backs for the Jaguars, Cowboys, Browns, Jets, and Bills.

While Lynn was never a full-time play-caller, he was well known around NFL circles for his leadership qualities. Lynn had been given the position of Assistant Head Coach by Rex Ryan for both the Jets and Bills. Apparently, this was enough experience for Tom Telesco to hire Lynn as the team’s ultimate leader.

Lynn handled one of the toughest transitions imaginable. First, he had to get his players to buy-in when many were uprooted from their San Diego homes and forced to move their families to LA. Then he had to play his home games at Dignity Health Sports Park for two seasons (also known as Stub Hub Center), a Major League Soccer stadium with a max capacity of 30,000. To make matters worse, home games, which already lacked Charger fans were overrun by the opposing team’s fans.

To recap, Lynn was brought in to a new city, when fans were angered, wouldn’t attend home games, in a 30,000 max-capacity soccer stadium, typically over-run with the other team’s fans.

Anthony Lynn starts slow but ends his first season strong

Under Lynn’s first season with the Chargers, the team started (0-4) and were (3-6) by week-10 that year. Somehow though, the Chargers went on a (6-1) run that saw them eliminated from the playoffs in the final game of the season.  At the end of the 2017 season, the Chargers were the hot hand and were not a team anyone wanted to see in the playoffs.

The Chargers ended the season (9-7) with Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Philip Rivers, Casey Hayward, Melvin Ingram, and Russell Okung making Pro Bowls. They turned their first winning season since 2014 and headed into 2018 with momentum. This led many to believe that Anthony Lynn had brought much-needed leadership to a team who always seemed to have a talented roster, but the inability to win close games.

The Chargers eliminated in AFC Divisional Round by the eventual Super Bowl Champions

Finally, the Chargers look like they are about to get over the hump. Lynn was able to take the Chargers to the playoffs, though still lost the AFC West to the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs. This was the year that fans and players really bought into what Lynn had built and it was a great season for the Chargers.

Desmond King, Adrian Phillips, and rookie sensation Derwin James were all voted to All-Pro teams. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Mike Pouncey, Melvin Ingram, James, and Philips all made the Pro Bowl. The Chargers finished the year (12-4), beat the Ravens in the Wild Card round before getting bounced by the Patriots.

Something of note: what pushed the Chargers out of contention was that they played six defensive backs as a base defense against the Patriots in the playoffs. Due to massive injuries at linebacker, the Chargers were forced to adapt and what they had was a plethora of defensive backs who were healthy.

This scheme was something new that worked against Lamar Jackson the week prior, but Lynn was outcoached the following week by Bill Belichick. The Patriots came out in two tight-end sets and rushed down Charger’s throat. The Patriots had 34 rushing attempts for 155 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers did not attempt to change the defense and paid for it ultimately.

The 2019 bounce-back year for the Chargers falls flat

The Chargers’ 2019 season was largely forgettable. The team was mostly in-tact from the previous year, though lost Tyrell Williams to the Raiders and lost Derwin James, Hunter Henry, and multiple players on the offensive line for chunks of the year. Still, the roster was just as talented as the year prior, but couldn’t seem to win close games.

Anthony Lynn fired Ken Whisenhunt and blamed losses on turnovers. Team chemistry could be blamed on an ugly holdout by Melvin Gordon. Still, the Chargers failed to win close games losing 9 of 11 games by just one score. The Philip Rivers interceptions didn’t help, but the Chargers played with everyone except the Vikings and Chiefs at the end of the year when the team looked like it finally gave up.

The Chargers fell (5-11) and made huge changes before the start of the 2020 season

 

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2020 changes do not change the 2019 culture

Hate it or love it, it was time to move on from Philip Rivers. The replacement of Tyrod Taylor for Rivers wasn’t great, but the drafting of Justin Herbert has turned out beautifully. The offensive line looks improved even if both Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga have failed to see much playing time. The Chargers through the air look better than last season, yet the running game has been super inconsistent.

Defensively, losing Derwin James at the start of the year hurt again, but there were three other All-Pros in the secondary. Drue Tranquill went down extremely early, but depth at linebacker was a positive and the defensive line should have been improved from a year ago. Even with all that, somehow the Chargers were not able to win the close games.

The Chargers had multi-score leads multiple times this season and managed to still find ways to lose those games this year. They have the ability to play with any roster in the league but have not played to win a single one. The final straw should have actually been the win against the Jets. To allow a team devoid of all talent to come back is worse than embarrassing. Even if the Chargers did win that game, a team that plays like the second half Chargers should always lose.

The reason it is time to let go of Anthony Lynn

I actually like Anthony Lynn as a coach, but probably more as a positional coach to be sure. He has had coaching issues with clock management and at times he can be overly aggressive when it doesn’t always make sense. Lynn doesn’t always make great coaching decisions in-game. He has this need as a former running-back to establish a run game even if it’s not there. That is his philosophy and what he believes in and that is all fine. None of those are reasons why he needs to go.

Lynn’s primary issue is the inability to get his team to pull away and win when they need to win. The Chargers always seem to start strong but can’t finish. Lynn hasn’t been able to give that mortal combat fatality to really “finish him” and that is ultimately what this team is missing. It’s why Lynn is on the verge of losing his job. It is why it is time for him to go.

 

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I am an editor for the Brawl Network. I also write for Chargers Brawl and cover the NFL Draft.

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