Lions announce hiring of Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell made it clear he wanted to add experienced voices to his staff. On Wednesday, he officially landed one at offensive coordinator, hiring former Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.

An agreement between the two sides had been reportedly reached last weekend.

Anthony Lynn has spent time with seven NFL teams since his coaching career began in 2000.

Lynn, 52, spent the past four years with the Chargers, leading the team to a 33-31 record with a playoff appearance in 2018. He was let go after going 7-9 in 2020.

While with the Chargers, Lynn saw the transition from established quarterback Philip Rivers to rookie Justin Herbert, who had a historically productive rookie season in 2020. That experience could prove valuable in Detroit as the Lions are set to part ways with Matthew Stafford and are likely to bring in a young successor via the draft. 

In a statement, Chargers owner Dean Spanos praised Lynn’s character, saying there might not be a more respected human in the NFL, but the decision boiled down to results on the field.

"As we all know, this is a results-driven business and, simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations,” Spanos said in a statement. “Moving forward, we will redouble our efforts to both build and maintain a championship-caliber program. We have been innovative in many facets of our organization in recent years, and we need to carry that over to our entire operation.”

The Chargers filled the vacancy hiring Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.

Prior to leading the Chargers, Lynn spent two years in Buffalo.

Initially hired as a running backs coach and assistant head coach to Rex Ryan, Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator when the Bills fired Greg Roman two games into the 2016 season. The team would go on to win its next four games, scoring 30 or more points in three of those victories, but that team success proved short-lived as the Bills would finish the year 7-9.

The hallmark of Lynn’s offense that season was the ground game. The Bills finished first in the NFL with 2,630 rushing yards on the season, averaging an impressive 5.3 yards per attempt.

Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy led the attack with 1,267 yards and was complemented by Mike Gillislee (577 yards) and quarterback Tyrod Taylor (580 yards), who eventually reconnected with Lynn in Los Angeles.

Lynn continued to coach productive running backs with the Chargers, getting a career- best year out of Melvin Gordon in 2017 before turning undersized, undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler into one of the league's better dual-threat options with more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage in 2019. 

Prior to Los Angeles and Buffalo, Lynn has coached with five other NFL teams, starting in 2000 as a special teams assistant with the Denver Broncos. That followed a multi-year playing career.

Undrafted out of Texas Tech as a running back, Lynn primarily contributed on special teams, appearing in 83 games for the Broncos and 49ers over six seasons.

Lynn joins Campbell's still-developing staff that's heavy on NFL playing experience. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn played 15 years, while running backs and assistant head coach Duce Staley had a 10-year career. Offensive line coach Hank Fraley, who is reportedly being retained by Campbell, also played a decade in the league.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers