An unprecedented day in Chargers history will end with a new head coach.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Chargers will hire former Bills interim coach and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, according to a source. Lynn’s meteoric rise will land in Los Angeles, agreeing to coach the team that just announced Thursday morning that it was leaving San Diego after 56 seasons.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced the decision in a letter released by the team while informing his staff about the move Thursday morning. The Chargers had until an NFL-mandated deadline of Tuesday to make a decision on whether to relocate or not.
“After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season,” Spanos wrote. “San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.”
In a statement released after the announcement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the years of effort the Chargers made in trying to stay in San Diego.
“That work … reflects our strongly held belief we always should do everything we can to keep a franchise in its community. That’s why we have a deliberate and thoughtful process for making these decisions.
Just four months ago, Lynn was working under Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Rex Ryan promoted Lynn over Roman after two early losses, and then then Lynn took over when Rex was fired before Week 17.
Lynn, who played in the NFL for six seasons, has earned his reputation as a running game guru. The Jets had strong rushing attacks in his time there and he brought one of the most versatile, complex running schemes to Buffalo. The Bills finished first among all NFL teams by a wide margin in part because of the diversity of their scheme and the excellent cohesion on the offensive line.
This will be a steep learning curve for Lynn, who has not been a head coach on any level before now. (His first time even running an offense was in Buffalo this season.) Not only will Lynn have to learn how to run an organization, he will have to do it as the Chargers pack up and move. The team has already announced it will play in the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson, California for two seasons before it moves in with the Rams in Inglewood in 2019. In the meantime, the Chargers previously announced they will set up team headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.
While the idea of moving a franchise sounds daunting for a new staff, Lynn can smile when looking at his roster. As Chris Wesseling wrote Thursday, this is a playoff-ready roster. The Chargers have a legitimate franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers and considerable talent around him like pass rusher Joey Bosa, cornerback Jason Verrett, wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Melvin Gordon. The depth of talent is solid on both sides of the ball, especially if Lynn can turn around the offensive line.