SAN DIEGO -- One noticeable change at Chargers Park with the addition of Anthony Lynn is that the new Los Angeles Chargers head coach does not deal in “coachspeak.”
Lynn says what he means, sometimes to his detriment. However, it’s been refreshing to deal with a coach who’s comfortable enough in his skin to not mince words in his dealings with both the players and the media.
In a story by Albert Breer of The MMQB, Lynn talked about eliminating distractions during offseason work and making sure the team’s relocation to Los Angeles and injury history are not used as a reasons for poor performance in 2017.
“To me, that’s just excuses,” Lynn said. “It’s the National Football League, and we’re all talented. I mean, this is an elite group of men. I don’t think there’s a non-talented team in the National Football League. The facts are, and I deal in the currency of the truth, we won nine games the past two years. We’re below average. So we have to change some things that we’re doing. We have to approach it better. We have to play better.”
It’s interesting to note that during the time he was interviewing for his job, Lynn still believed the team was staying in San Diego. The Chargers announced the move to Los Angeles on Jan. 12. A day later, the team announced Lynn’s hiring.
“I have to be honest with you: I didn’t think we were going to be leaving San Diego, I really didn’t," said Lynn. "It wouldn’t have mattered much. I was looking at the organization and I felt like the organization was a fit for me. But I did have to start thinking about things differently, once we decided we were moving.”
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that it’s a shame Lynn did not take over the team years ago because he believes San Diegans would have enjoyed his honesty.
Krasovic: “I don’t think any NFL coach has or will deal entirely in the 'currency of truth,' but Lynn is a refreshing presence for an organization that far too often came off as tone deaf, timid, foggy, cocooned, even paranoid, from ownership down.”
“He’s laid-back, calm, cool and collected,” Benjamin said. “And he means what he says. And he’s a players’ coach, which everyone respects. He’ll call you out when he needs to, and when things need to get done, he’s willing to go out there and do it.”
I’m not sure I agree with the players’ coach part, but I understand Benjamin’s sentiment. Lynn is not worried about whether players like him or not, only that they respect him.
Lynn’s job is to coax, prod and cajole players into playing to their potential, by any means necessary. It’s the reason he brought on a new training staff led by John Lott and implemented track workouts to improve endurance, with the hope that better conditioning will reduce soft-tissue injuries when players are fatigued late in games.
Lynn’s mantra has been competition in camp. He’s focused on taking care of the football and improving a special teams unit that finished last in the NFL last season.
While Lynn’s emphasis on telling the truth is refreshing, the new approach will lose effectiveness if the Chargers don’t win games. So we’ll reassess Lynn’s approach midway through the regular season to see if it’s really working.