On January 3rd, 2021, the Chargers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, who rested their starters in hopes of being ready to defend their crown. Anthony Lynn walked off the field with a 7-9 record, a quarterback named rookie of the year, and many questions about his future.
The next day, the Chargers announced that they had parted ways with their head coach after four seasons. It was a rollercoaster of four seasons especially because in his first two seasons, the team went 21-11 while making the playoffs in 2018. The following two seasons were rough for the squad, finishing with a combined record of 12-18.
Lynn joined a podcast called "Compas on the Beat" to discuss his tenure.
"I've had time to reflect on my four years in LA and things that I would do differently if I had to do it all over again and things that we did well," said Lynn. "We did some things well. I felt like the organization was in better shape when we left, and then we got it."
The former head coach is not wrong. When Mike McCoy was fired in 2017, it felt like the team was far away from being able to compete. They needed roster additions plus good coaching. In 2021, the census is that Brandon Staley is inheriting a loaded roster and just needs to make some tweaks.
Also, Lynn inherited an aging quarterback in Philip Rivers while Staley has second-year gunslinger Justin Herbert.
"You got a young stallion at quarterback that I absolutely love to death," said Lynn. "Great, great, young man. I think his intangibles are even better than his talent."
So, after four seasons, what does Lynn feel like he learned in his four seasons?
"You can take away a lot from how you build your staff to how do you utilize your personnel," explained Lynn. "How you practice, just even in the business side of things, just how we did things on the business side. There's a lot I would take away from that I think all tie into winning championships. I tell people all the time locker rooms don't win championships organizations do, so I think I learned a lot on both sides."
Lynn played football for the Denver Broncos and won two Super Bowls. As a former player he knew what it took to make it all the way. He was tough on his players but fair. Chargers players respected him.
After being let go, Lynn was mentioned for offensive coordinator positions but ended up deciding to join the Detroit Lions.
"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," said Lynn.
Taking a year off could have helped Lynn analyze in depth what happened in his four seasons and learn off of it. It also would have been the first season off for Lynn since probably 1974.
"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," explained Lynn. "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."
Lynn joined a Lions team led by former NFL tight end Dan Campbell. He was the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015 and most recently was with the New Orleans Saints. He is an energy guy who, during his opening press conference, said they get back up when knocked down and, most importantly, will "bite a kneecap off."
Does Campbell always bring that energy?
"Always man, that's Dan," laughed Lynn.
Now this will be the first season that Lynn is the OC since 2016 with the Buffalo Bills. He will now have Jared Goff as his quarterback and will try to help him escape the problems he had in Los Angeles. As far as what happened with the Chargers, Lynn is taking it as a learning experience.
"I have no regrets," explained Lynn. "Yeah, there's some things I would do differently if I had a chance to do it all over again, but I learned from that. I think we learn from our failures, and we move on. Hopefully, we get an opportunity to show that we've learned from it."