Anthony Lynn (Redskins at Chargers)
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn had a very bad start to his rookie year as a head coach – four consecutive losses, three straight at home, and several in ugly fashion. He seemed overwhelmed, and his game management skills needed a lot of work.
This is what we wrote in Week 1 when Lynn’s Chargers faced the Broncos: “Chargers head coach, Anthony Lynn, also had difficulty with clock management, burning two time outs in the first quarter, one on a questionable challenge. For their most critical drive of the game – the last drive – the Chargers had only one time out available.”
In Week 3, the Chargers played hard but lost at home to Kansas City 24-10, and Lynn had another rough time managing the game. But we also saw some positive developments. We wrote “Chargers rookie Head Coach Anthony Lynn has his team playing hard for him, and while he still is winless, their record can and will turn around. However, in order to help himself, he will have to improve his clock management. In this game, he burned one timeout with a very questionable challenge call, and while trying to make a defensive stop near the end of the game, his use of a timeout in conjunction with a looming 2:00 minute warning also was questionable.”
By Week 7, we were proved prescient. The Chargers beat the Broncos 21-0, and we wrote that coach Lynn was “improving.”
In Week 14, the “positive developments” that we saw start to emerge in Week 3, fully blossomed. The Chargers dominated the game against the Redskins from start to finish. It was a complete win – as good a performance as we’ve seen from the Chargers in quite a while. Every player seems to know their role, they have an identity in all three phases, and they’re winning with a lot of young players making key contributions.
The Chargers now have a swagger, and that is a credit to Coach Lynn. To start a season 0-4, with three of the losses at home, is as demoralizing as it gets. A pro football locker room can devolve quickly into a cesspool of finger-pointing and media leaks. So it takes a strong and steady leader to keep working as well as keep the peace. This type of skill goes far beyond X’s and O’s – this is about poise, confidence, and belief.
Anthony Lynn has shown all of that. Saturday, his team plays for the division lead. And because of the complete game his team played in Week 14, he is this week’s Top Dog.