The Anthony Lynn era in Los Angeles got off to a slightly inauspicious start when the new head coach referred to his team quickly as the San Diego Chargers. But in the following moments, a well-prepared, passionate head coach, if one that the general public heard little about, made himself known at a press conference in the greater-Los Angeles area Tuesday.
Here are five things we learned….
1. The Lynn-Ken Whisenhunt marriage might have been arranged, but it is a happy arrangement: The only staff conformation Lynn made on Tuesday was the retaining of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. While it seemed all along that the Chargers preferred to keep Whisenhunt on board, Lynn revealed a little bit about his preference for Whisenhunt on his prospective staff list.
“As we put this together, things may change. So I can’t really answer that right now,” Lynn said. “But Ken Whisenhunt, I know he’s going to be my offensive coordinator. I interviewed for a couple jobs last year and Ken was the No. 1 coordinator on my list. So I was happy to see that he was here and he definitely will be retained. We’re still putting it together and I don’t want to get too far down the road with that.”
2. Lynn thinks Melvin Gordon can get better: Just a few weeks after Gordon’s breakout season ended with 997 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and nearly 500 receiving yards, Lynn was brought in. Lynn was responsible for LeSean McCoy‘s renaissance in Buffalo and already has high expectations for the former first-round pick.
“He’s very dynamic. He’s a hard-working young man. He took his game to another level,” Lynn said. “And we’re going to help him maybe take it to another level. He’s growing like a weed right now. When you watch him from his rookie year to his sophomore year, any young man that studies the game like he does and works like he does, and works as hard as he does, I get excited about.”
3. Former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is in the mix for the defensive coordinator position. But as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted, Bradley will be watching the 49ers gig given that Tom Cable is in the mix. Cable and Bradley worked together in Seattle.
“Gus Bradley is a candidate,” Lynn said. “We visited with Gus yesterday and we’ll speak with him later on this afternoon. But we have a good group that we’re looking at and like I said that process is not final, there are some other guys in other situations, but we hope to have it wrapped up in the next few days.”
4. Lynn was not a household name, but that does not mean he came without household name credentials. He made sure to list his mentors, from Bill Walsh to Bill Parcells on Tuesday.
“I have to go back to Bill Walsh,” he said. “I remember the day Bill Walsh came down into the locker room back in 1996 (Lynn was then a 49ers running back) and he grabbed me and said ‘We need to talk.’ I said ‘Oh (expletive)’ he’s about to cut me. That’s what I thought. But Bill said ‘I want to take you to lunch. I want to talk to you about coaching.’ He said ‘I’ve identified you as a coach in the NFL. I want to talk to you about my program for minority coaches.'”
Lynn said the “seed was planted” at that moment. He had previously never considered a job in coaching.
“From that moment on, every team meeting I sat in on, every coach I played for, I took notes like a coach. I prepared like a coach. And that’s when I got with Mike Shanahan in Denver. Mike noticed that, and after I retired, he gave me my first opportunity and I thank coach Shanahan for that. A few years later, I got to work for Bill Parcells. I worked for Bill Parcells for two years. I don’t think I could have done three. But I made it two. He taught me so much about the game. I liked to say I went to Harvard for football.”
Lynn also thanked Rex Ryan, who elevated him to assistant head coach and groomed him for the position, allowing Lynn to sit in on salary cap meetings and other closed-door talks that assistants were not privy to.
5. Lynn is not worried a bit about the franchise moving to Los Angeles: The Rams‘ transition was far more daunting, but the Chargers will still have to deal with a temporary environment. “I know that it’s not going to be easy, coming in and transitioning; the whole nine. But I really feel like we can turn this adversity into something positive. Our players will become closer and our staff will become closer and our whole organization in this transition. Guys are so excited to come here and play on this stage we have here in Los Angeles. I’m excited about that.”