Chargers fire Lynn after four seasons

Lynn was 34-32 the last four years with the Chargers.
Anthony Lynn Chargers

By Joe Reedy, AP Sports Writer:

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have fired coach Anthony Lynn less than two seasons after he led the franchise to the AFC divisional round.

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

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

“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.

Los Angeles became the first team in NFL history to squander a lead of at least 16 points in four straight games earlier this season. A 31-30 loss on Nov. 1 at Denver came after the Chargers were up 24-3 midway through the third quarter, only to lose on the final play of the game.

Special teams have also been abysmal, ranking near the bottom in most categories.

Justin Herbert is favored for Offensive Rookie of the Year after setting a rookie record with 31 touchdown passes.

The Chargers went 5-11 in 2019 as the offense struggled. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was fired at midseason, but the unit still floundered. Philip Rivers led the league with 4,615 passing yards but also threw 20 interceptions, including four in the red zone. Rivers signed with Indianapolis during free agency and the Chargers drafted Herbert with the sixth overall pick.

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 Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, defensive end Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James. The team has been plagued by injuries, however. James was out for the season due to a knee injury while seven starters on both sides of the ball missed at least three or more games.

General manager Tom Telesco has one year remaining on his contract. He has done well drafting skill position players, but the team needs upgrades on the offensive line along with linebacker and cornerback.