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Exploring Anthony Lynn's Offense

Read more on what the Lions' offense might look like with Anthony Lynn as the team's new offensive coordinator.

As the Detroit Lions continue filling coaching vacancies, Anthony Lynn, one of their most recent hires, will have the tall task of turning around an offense without Matthew Stafford. 

Lynn has had some success in guiding NFL offenses in recent years. 

Despite only having one year (2016) as a true play-caller, Lynn has quite a bit of experience -- not only as a former NFL running back but also in moving up the coaching ranks.

Here is a quick rundown of Lynn’s coaching career:

  • Denver Broncos (2000–2002) - Special teams assistant.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2003–2004) - Running backs coach.
  • Dallas Cowboys (2005–2006) - Running backs coach.
  • Cleveland Browns (2007–2008) - Running backs coach.
  • New York Jets (2009–2014) - Running backs coach.
  • New York Jets (2013–2014) - Assistant head coach.
  • Buffalo Bills (2015–2016) - Assistant head coach & running backs coach.
  • Buffalo Bills (2016) - Interim head coach & offensive coordinator.
  • Los Angeles Chargers (2017–2020) - Head coach.
  • Detroit Lions (2021–present) - Offensive coordinator.

Obviously, Lynn showed enough promise to earn a head coaching gig with the Chargers in 2017.

In Lynn’s stint as the Bills' interim head coach and offensive coordinator, his offense led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

The feat should impress Lions supporters, especially considering Detroit's lack of a rushing attack since the retirement of Barry Sanders. 

As a former running back, you would expect Lynn to really emphasize running the football -- and he does.

Even though Lynn wants to establish the run, he also wants explosive plays downfield. 

He has shown that he can be flexible and cater to his team’s strengths. 

After his lone season as the Bills' offensive play-caller, he accepted the head coaching job with the Chargers. 

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His Chargers led the league in passing yards in Lynn’s inaugural season. 

To follow that up, in 2018, the Chargers finished 10th in passing yards, and then subsequently finished sixth in both 2019 and 2020.

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During his time as head man, the Chargers took deep shots sparingly. 

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert threw the ball 20-plus yards on only 11.3 percent of his pass attempts in 2020, which ranked 24th among NFL quarterbacks.  

The season before, Philip Rivers looked deep on 13.4 percent of his passes, which ranked 12th in the league. 

However, in 2017 and 2018, Rivers threw downfield the 16th-and-25th-most amount of times in the NFL, respectively. 

So, it wouldn’t appear that Lynn is nearly as aggressive as former Lions offensive coordinator and interim head coach Darrell Bevell.

In terms of rushing, Lynn’s Chargers teams finished 19th in total rushing yards in 2020, 28th in 2019, 15th in 2018 and 24th in 2017.

Important to note, as the head coach in Los Angeles, he was not the play-caller. Still, you would have to imagine that he played a major role in the decision-making process.

Who the next quarterback of the Lions will be is still a mystery at this point. No matter the case, though, Lynn has shown that if a team can run the ball, he will take full advantage of it.

However, if the team passes the ball better, he will also play to those strengths. 

Without a quarterback in place, it will be very interesting to see how the season unfolds for the rebuilding Lions in 2021.

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