According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is being hired as the San Francisco 49ers’ assistant head coach. Per Schefter, Lynn is expected to be a “key cog” in the 49ers’ running game under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Lynn lasted just a season in Detroit as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2021. After the Lions struggled to get much going offensively through eight games, head coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties after the bye week, leaving Lynn to have a decreased role and more of a focus on the running game. At the end of the season, the two sides parted ways, but Lynn remained a professional throughout what was likely a difficult demotion.
“He’s been a true pro, he works his tail off and he gave us everything he had,” Campbell said after the season. “So, I appreciate him for that. He is, he’s a pro.”
The Lions are still in the process of replacing Lynn at offensive coordinator. Earlier this week, Campbell told reporters at the Senior Bowl that the team was going to conduct “at least a couple” interviews for the position in the next few days.
One of those candidates is tight ends coach Ben Johnson, who was (unofficially) promoted to passing game coordinator following Lynn’s demotion. Down the stretch, the Lions offense—and quarterback Jared Goff—drastically improved, as the Lions went 3-3 in their final six games.
Johnson is serving as the team’s temporary offensive coordinator at the Senior Bowl this week as part of the event’s new coaching development program. Johnson told reporters that he and Campbell have discussed his potential candidacy for the job.
“Coach Campbell and I have sat down and we’ve talked at length on a couple different of occasions,” Johnson said. “So, yeah. We’ve had good conversations.”
It’s unclear what direction the Lions will go in, and both Campbell and Johnson said this week that a decision has not yet been made on if Campbell will call offensive plays next year. However, Johnson made it clear that Campbell will still have a significant impact on how the offense will look.
“It’s really his vision for it, and having his back with that vision. What he wants to see, where he wants it to go. I think it really kind of centers there. This is a head-coach-driven team, and that’s offense, defense and special teams. Where he wants it to go, we will go.”