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If the Chargers fire Anthony Lynn, which coaching candidates could they turn to?

A quick look at some options

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

I think the most overrated aspect of a head coaching hire, at least from a fan and media perspective, is that an offensive or defensive coordinator from a good team is going to translate that success to his next team. How often has this actually happened?

Pete Carroll is a defensive coach being carried by his quarterback.

Matt Nagy is an offensive coach being carried by his defense.

Kyle Shanahan was hired for developing the NFL’s top-ranked offense but he went to the Super Bowl last year with the top-ranked defense.

Matt Patricia won three Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and his Detroit Lions defenses are consistently among the worst in the league.

But then John Harbaugh was a special teams coach. And the Ravens have consistently had fantastic special teams units. Maybe teams should be focused on special teams coaches. It’s working for the Giants, right? I mean, they almost won a second game on Monday!

The LA Chargers are now 2-5 and their fourth quarter woes this season don’t need to be repeated by me here. Since being tied 7-7 with the Patriots in the first quarter of a divisional playoff game in 2019, the Chargers have seen their hopes of an Anthony Lynn-led Super Bowl fade. New England scored 31 unanswered in that game and LA is 7-16 in the 23 games since.

This is despite the fact that I believe Tom Telesco has developed and grown into one of the league’s best general managers, which includes acquiring a quarterback who has the potential to be the Chargers most important young player since Philip Rivers.

Can Lynn be trusted to lead Justin Herbert and the team beyond 2020?

If not, here’s a quick rundown of some candidates with little commentary. In 2017, the Chargers interviewed a number of coaches, including Patricia and Sean McDermott (31-25 record with the Bills), plus Dave Toub, Mike Smith and Teryl Austin.The Rams hired Sean McVay and the Chargers didn’t reportedly interview him. The Broncos interviewed Toub, the special teams coordinator for the Chiefs, but went with Vance Joseph (since fired) instead.


Dave Toub, Chiefs

At a time when coaching candidates are meant to be 30 or younger, Toub is the 58-year-old longtime special teams coordinator for coaches like Andy Reid and Lovie Smith. He’s been mentioned in interviews for a decade.

Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs

Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs

Anyone associated with Kansas City is of note, but Bieniemy is the most popular name to be tossed around by fans because he’s touched the hand of Patrick Mahomes. Could LA snag the most-prized name on the market from a division rival? Again: I don’t think that just because Bieniemy works with Mahomes and Reid that he’s going to be the best person to work with Herbert. Matt Nagy worked with Mahomes too, albeit during his rookie season on the bench.

Robert Saleh, 49ers

Brian Daboll, Bills

Matt Eberflus, Colts

Nick Sirianni, Colts

Indianapolis has one of the highest-rated defenses in the NFL but by DVOA they’ve played the second-easiest schedule of offenses. Let’s wait and see.

Wink Martindale, Ravens

Greg Roman, Ravens

Roman has been the offensive coordinator for both Harbaughs and he’s managed to help turn both Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson into stars, though neither of those efforts have proven to be long-term solutions. Jackson’s not having the follow-up to his MVP season that many were hoping for but there’s a lot of season left. Mahomes wasn’t as amazing (statistically) after his MVP season.

Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers

Leftwich’s three years as coordinator have seen him go from Josh Rosen to Jameis Winston to Tom Brady. That’s quite a ladder.

Brian Schottenheimer, Seahawks

Zero talk around Schottenheimer so far but Seattle has ranked sixth, ninth and first in scoring during his three seasons as offensive coordinator. Again, I don’t think this means he translates all that success, but shouldn’t it get him some attention? Schottenheimer has been a coordinator for 12 seasons.

Brandon Staley, Rams

One of the top under-40 candidates in the NFL.

Arthur Smith, Titans


Shane Waldron, Rams

Kevin O’Connell, Rams

If the idea is to have people who will work with Herbert, then former quarterbacks and coaches who have worked with notable quarterbacks will often be considered.

Joe Brady, Panthers

Had a job already

Leslie Frazier, Bills

Dennis Allen, Saints

Josh McDaniels, Patriots

Jim Schwartz, Eagles

College Coaches

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma

I can’t go down a long list (or a short list) of college candidates. This is not a road to ignore, however. Who would you put on it?


Should Anthony Lynn be head coach of the Chargers in 2021?

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  • 10%
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