Bills turn to Lynn to fix struggling offense
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Calling his surprise promotion ''bittersweet,'' new Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn knows he has a tall task ahead of him.
Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator last Friday after the Bills fired Greg Roman following an 0-2 start.
It's now Lynn's job to pick up the pieces and try to help salvage a Bills season that has already hit a breaking point.
''Look, man, it's a challenge. I accept the challenge,'' Lynn said. ''Think I'm the right guy for the challenge and I'm not going to make any excuses. It's my responsibility to get us going, and we'll figure it out.''
Lynn had mixed emotions on Thursday when he spoke to reporters for the first time since receiving the promotion.
''It was bittersweet, I'll say that,'' Lynn said. ''I was surprised and then once you get over the initial shock, you've got a job to do. Helluva challenge.''
Lynn, 47, played in the league for six seasons (1993, 1995-99) as a backup running back and was a member of John Elway's Super-Bowl winning teams.
He joined the Broncos' coaching staff following his retirement in 2000 as a special teams assistant before coaching running backs for five teams over the next 14 years before his promotion on Friday.
Despite his background as a running backs coach - and coach Rex Ryan's reputation for wanting a ''ground and pound'' attack - Lynn doesn't plan on forcing the issue in the running game. He described his offensive philosophy as fluid and flexible depending on what opposing defenses present.
''No, I don't know ground and pound,'' Lynn said. ''To me, if they give you ground and pound, you ground and pound. If they give you pass, you pass. I just want to coach an explosive offense, doing multiple things, balance multiple personnel groupings and just take what they give us.
''I'm a personnel-driven guy. I believe in personnel. Get the ball in the hands of players and let them make the plays because if you do that, they'll make way more plays than we'll ever design.''
He faces an uphill battle on short notice. Buffalo's offense sputtered in each of its first two games to start the season.
In Week 1 against Baltimore, Buffalo had just 160 yards - its lowest output in a decade and lowest total in a season opener since 1979.
Buffalo's offense had some better moments in a 37-31 loss to the New York Jets in Week 2, but struggled once again with consistency and staying on the field.
Through two games, the Bills ranked 30th in offense and 29th in third-down conversions (6 of 23).
''I want to play smart, physical football,'' Lynn said. ''I want to be explosive down the field. Right now, I just want to stay on the damn field. We're going to play a little bit faster and see if we can put a little pressure on the defense. Just execute.''
A point of emphasis this week for the Bills has been simplifying the playbook. They have trimmed plays under Lynn and plan on limiting quarterback Tyrod Taylor's ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage.
''We will have it cut down,'' Ryan said. ''But there's plenty there, there's plenty of volume. It's just cut down a little.''
Added Lynn: ''We didn't just shrink it until we don't have enough bullets. We have plenty of bullets and ammo. We just took a little off the guys' plate.''
Lynn may have a short-handed roster for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals (1-1).
Top receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) missed practice again on Thursday, and Ryan said there is some ''heightened concern'' regarding Watkins' availability for Sunday.
Fellow wideout Greg Salas left Thursday's practice with a groin injury. Ryan said he doesn't believe the injury is a significant one. Tight end Charles Clay has been limited with a knee injury and Cordy Glenn has yet to return to practice after injuring his ankle in Week 1.
Less than ideal, yes - but Lynn is embracing the opportunity to try and turn things around.
''I've been training to do this all my life,'' Lynn said. ''I had a couple (opportunities) to do it in different places and it didn't work out. But I never wanted to do it under these circumstances. I like to build my success on top of another man's success, or woman, but unfortunately it's the NFL.
''Didn't work out that way. Now I'm in charge and I have to get this offense going in the right direction, and I plan on getting it done.''
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