Can Anthony Lynn bring smashmouth football back to Detroit?

Lost in the recent trade drama surrounding quarterback Matthew Stafford was the report that the Detroit Lions have found their new offensive coordinator. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Lions intend to hire Anthony Lynn to fill the position.

The former head coach for the Los Angeles Chargers is set to replace Darrell Bevell as the Lions’ offensive coordinator. Bevell is reportedly set to join the Jacksonville Jaguars under their new head coach, Urban Meyer.

The 52-year old Lynn got his start in the NFL as a running back for six seasons playing for the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos. He was able to win two Super Bowl rings in Denver and started his coaching career in the Mile High City in 2000 as a special teams assistant.

The former running back would spend much of his coaching career as a running backs coach, including a two-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys from 2005-2006. This is an important footnote as current Lions’ head coach, Dan Campbell, and new defensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn, were both in Dallas as players at the same time.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, a big reason why Lynn choose Detroit over other options was to work with both Campbell and Glenn. So what are the Lions getting in the man who is reportedly set to become their newest OC?

During his four-year run as head coach of the Chargers, Lynn’s offense never finished worst than 11th in total yards for his entire tenure. Last season, Los Angeles ranked ninth in total yards (6,113), sixth in passing offense (4,329), and 18th in rushing offense (1,784).

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon would rush for a total of 2,602 yards and 26 touchdowns playing under Lynn for three years. Gordon broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2017. The Chargers actually lead the NFL in passing yardage that same season averaging 276.9
yards through the air per game.

As a former running back and longtime running backs coach, Lynn is surely an advocate of running the football. And based on the viral introductory press conference by Campbell this past week, the Lions seem primed to play a more run-centric offense in Detroit.

As a former running backs coach, Lynn has worked with some of the NFL’s top running backs of their era. Those names include Fred Taylor with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jamal Lewis with the Cleveland Browns, Thomas Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson with the New York Jets, and LeSean McCoy with the Buffalo Bills. All of whom outside of Tomlinson were 1,000-yard rushers under Lynn’s tutelage.

So with the Detroit Lions reportedly set to hire Anthony Lynn as their new offensive coordinator, and considering the news that the team will be looking to trade longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford, will smashmouth football return to the Motor City in 2021? With questions surrounding who will be under center for the Lions, making second-year running back, D’Andre Swift, the focus of the offense seems like a safe bet.