Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
Anthony Lynn had two winning records in his four seasons as Los Angeles Chargers coach.
He made the playoffs in 2018 and won a wild-card game — on the road. And last season, he won seven games, including four straight to end the year, with a rookie quarterback.
The Chargers fired Lynn in January, and the new Detroit Lions‘ offensive coordinator was diplomatic Wednesday when asked if he deserved that fate.
“That’s not my call,” Lynn said. “That’s the ownership call. That’s why Dean Spanos owns that football team and that was his call, and all I know is I’m a Detroit Lion now and I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to this challenge.”
Lynn, 52, went 33-31 in four seasons with the Chargers, though he won 12 of 32 games since 2019.
L.A. had serious clock management issues under his watch last season and blew leads of at least 16 points in four consecutive games, an NFL record.
But the Chargers also had significant injury problems on defense — All-Pro safety Derwin James has played five games the past two years — and Lynn oversaw the development of Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert.
Lynn said he learned valuable lessons coaching Herbert that will help him next time he has a rookie quarterback, perhaps this year with the Lions.
“You just can’t put too much on his plate. You got to let him play,” Lynn said. “And we got to a point to where we were helping him call plays throughout the game. Letting him see the defense, we’re calling the play. We feel like doing it at the line of scrimmage helped him a little bit. That’s what he was used to doing at Oregon, anyway.”
Lynn will call plays this fall for the first time since 2016, when he served as offensive coordinator for the final 15 games with the Buffalo Bills.
He championed a balanced offense Wednesday, and said it won’t take long to regain his feel as play caller.
“Even before I was the official play caller, I was calling plays,” Lynn said. “I was always preparing like a coordinator in every game I would call plays, so when I became the primary play caller, it wasn’t like it’s the first time I did it. And over the last four years, no, I had offensive coordinators and I let those guys call plays, but I probably called a third of those plays. I was always involved, but I don’t think it’s something that I’ve forgotten how to do, that’s for sure.”