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Chargers fire head coach Anthony Lynn; six NFL teams have openings, so far

Joe Reedy
Associated Press

Costa Mesa, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers fired coach Anthony Lynn on Monday, less than two seasons after he led the franchise to the playoffs.

Lynn is the sixth NFL coach fired this season, joining Houston’s Bill O’Brien, Atlanta’s Dan Quinn, Detroit’s Matt Patricia, Adam Gase of the New York Jets and Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone.

Los Angeles won its final four games to finish 7-9, but it wasn’t enough to save his job.

Former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn

“I’m not sure there is another person in this league more respected as a human being than Anthony,” owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. “This is a results-driven business, and simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations.”

Hired by the Chargers in January 2017, Lynn was the first Black head coach in franchise history. He went 34-32 with Los Angeles, but just 12-20 over the last two seasons. He had one year remaining on his contract.

Los Angeles started 0-4 during Lynn’s first season in 2017, but finished 9-7 after winning six of the last seven games. That served as a springboard to 2018 as the Chargers went 12-4, which tied for the best record in the AFC. They defeated Baltimore in the wild card round before losing to New England in the divisional playoffs.

Trying to repeat that success has been elusive. They are 7-16 since the start of last season in games decided by eight points or fewer.

The Los Angeles opening could be one of the more intriguing ones of the offseason. The franchise moved into SoFi Stadium this season, but also has a talented nucleus with Justin Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, defensive end Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James.

Herbert is favored for offensive rookie of the year after setting a rookie record with 31 touchdown passes. He said he got a text that Lynn was dismissed.

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“I have learned so much from him and enjoyed my time with him,” Herbert said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty. You have to rely on the guys and the locker room and depend on them if we want to get better."

General manager Tom Telesco has one year remaining on his contract and he will be hiring his third head coach. He is 61-69 during his tenure with only two playoff appearances in eight seasons.

Telesco has done well drafting skill position players, but his free agent signings have not panned out. The team needs upgrades on the offensive line along with linebacker and cornerback.

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, owner Shad Khan plans to have the team’s next head coach and general manager report directly to him, a structure he expects will keep him in the loop on major personnel decisions.

Khan said Monday he will have “roster control,” but he later clarified that to mean “you don’t want players going in and out or contracts given until you’re aware of that.”

Khan also made it clear finding a franchise quarterback is a priority.

Marrone went 24-43 in four seasons in Jacksonville, falling a few plays shy of the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 2017 and then miring near the bottom of the league since. The Jaguars dropped 21 of Marrone’s final 24 games, including 15 by double digits.

The AP's Mark Long contributed.