As the Detroit Lions head into their bye week, should offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn be fired?
Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles looked like a winnable one for the Detroit Lions, but they were dominated from the start in a 44-6 loss. The offense generated a season-low 228 yards, as limitations across the board were exposed.
Heading into their Week 9 bye, the Lions are 29th in the league in scoring offense (16.8 point per game), and that would be even worse of not for a comeback in Week 1 that yielded 33 points. They are 24th in pass offense (228 yards per game) and 25th in rushing offense (93.1 yards per game) and 26th in total offense. Detroit’s 11 giveaways also rank among the most in the league.
A bye week is a time to reflect and make changes where warranted. But borrowing from an idea John Maakaron of SI.com has offered….
Should Anthony Lynn be fired during the Lions bye week?
Lynn is in his first season as Lions offensive coordinator, after spending the previous four seasons as Chargers’ head coach. His shortcomings as a head coach show he’s better off as a coordinator.
Questions about Lynn’s job security, or calls for him to be fired, are easy. But let’s take inventory of what he’s had to work with thus far in his tenure with the Lions.
-A wide receiver group down Tyrell Williams (concussion) since Week 1, and Quintez Cephus since halfway through Week 5.
-Jared Goff, a clearly limited quarterback who cannot elevate said thin group of wide receivers or test defenses downfield.
-An offensive line that has been without left tackle Taylor Decker (finger) all season, and center Frank Ragnow (turf toe) since he was injured in Week 4 (Ragnow is out for the season). Rookie Penei Sewell has had ups and downs taking over a left tackle right away, and Evan Brown has mostly been fine replacing Ragnow. But right tackle Matt Nelson has regularly been overmatched.
Lynn could be more creative with his play-calling, including downfield passes. Goff having the second-most pass attempts in the league is not ideal (308), even with the caveat that not everyone has played eight games as he has. But double-digit deficits in five of those eight games has driven 38.5 pass attempts per game, for better or worse.
So what can Lynn expand his play-calling to do? Beyond D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson, it’s Jamaal Williams, Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown and whole lot of nothing at his disposal. With a limited quarterback running the show, and no upgrade behind him. Williams could stand to see more work, up to and including sharing the field with Swift more. Raymond and St. Brown have had some games where they’ve been heavily involved and productive, but it’s up to Goff to deliver the ball consistently.
And who would replace Lynn if he were fired? First-year quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell would be the interesting choice. Maybe head coach Dan Campbell would take a stab at offensive play-calling, after saying he would take a long look at the offense during the bye week.
So while Lynn will surely be taking the bye week to consider how he can coax more out of his unit, he isn’t going anywhere–at least until the end of the season.