Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn doesn’t view head coach Dan Campbell taking over play-calling duties as a demotion.
“I wouldn’t say that. I don’t know, I don’t see it as a demotion,” Lynn said, per the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve been in Dan’s shoes, and if I was 0-8 and I need to spark my team, then as an offensive guy, I probably would’ve done the same thing, to be honest with you, and I have. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t agree with what he did.”
As the Los Angeles Chargers head coach for four years (2017-2020), Lynn made several in-season moves to spark his team. In 2019, he fired OC Ken Whisenhunt and handed play-calling duties to Shane Steichen after two months of struggles. In 2020, he reassigned special teams coordinator George Stewart midway through the season.
Unlike many coordinators, Lynn understands the head coach is looking for a spark — any spark — to jumpstart his winless team. Lynn echoed Campbell’s comments earlier in the week that it was a collaborative process calling plays, but the OC didn’t let on to how many plays he called throughout last Sunday’s tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I thought it worked well,” Lynn said. “I thought we worked well together last week. He asked me my opinion on certain things, and he makes those calls, but he wanted to talk to the quarterback. That was the main thing.
“He wanted to communicate with the quarterback, and only one person can do that, so he’s got the headset, and I will call plays. I’ll call it through him, and I’ll assist him and do whatever he wants me to do.”
Given the injury to Jared Goff in last week’s 16-16 tie in Pittsburgh, it’s difficult to know how much Campbell was calling a game around an injured QB or if he really wants to run the ball in multiple third-and-10-plus-yard situations.
The Lions entered the season with one of the most limited offensive units in the NFL. An inexperienced receiver corps coupled with a QB who doesn’t raise the level of play around him always portended to a capped offensive capability.
Lynn, who has been around the NFL as a player or coach since 1992, understood when he took the job in Detroit that it wasn’t going to be a quick fix. So if he’s to help turn things around and potentially get another head coaching gig, patience will be key — even if that means giving up play-calling for a spell.
“Coordinating is a lot more than calling plays,” Lynn said. “There’s a lot of guys around the league that don’t necessarily call the plays.
“But you have to coordinate the meeting schedules, you’re still trying help serve the players the best you can and assist the head coach in the information that he needs to call the game. So, I mean, you still have a big role, but you’re not the primary play-caller.”
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