Anthony Lynn is in a tough spot right now––one that could determine his future as the Lions’ offensive coordinator moving forward after this season.
Simply put, he’s not getting the job done. And please, let’s not use the injury excuse. Because fellow Lions coordinator Aaron Glenn is doing an admirable job with the defense, overachieving with many undrafted free agents.
Related: Anthony Lynn is hindering the Lions’ offense with questionable play-calling
Let’s get back to Lynn, though.
Heading into Week 10 vs. the Steelers, Lions head coach Dan Campbell made it known that he would become “more involved” in the offense, eventually assuming the role of primary play-caller. And can you blame him? It’s not like the offense under Lynn has a good identity.
They’re 29th in points, 30th in total touchdowns (RedZone, too), 31st in third-down success, and 28th and 29th in passing yards and touchdowns, respectively. For eight games this season, this was under Lynn’s watch. Even though Campbell’s job this past Sunday wasn’t anything to write home about, it was worth a shot.
And that’s because Lions’ offense under Anthony Lynn has been outright cringeworthy.
However, it wasn’t nearly as cringeworthy as Lynn’s comments on Wednesday. Lynn spoke to the media for the first time since Campbell announced he took over play-calling duties for the offense. And he fielded a question on whether he felt Campbell’s change was a demotion for him.
“I don’t see it as a demotion,” said Lynn. “I’ve been in Dan’s shoes, and if I was 0-8 and I needed 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. I thought it worked well.”
“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.”
What Anthony Lynn said, as a whole, makes sense. The team was winless. And they needed a collaborative effort to get that elusive first win. So things had to change coming out of the bye week. The cringeworthy part, in my opinion, was the opening line in his response. And that was him saying he doesn’t see the move as a demotion.
Now no one expects Anthony Lynn to come out and say Campbell demoted him. That makes no sense. It’d be a firestorm, with all kinds of stories and headlines written about turmoil in Detroit.
Please make no mistake about it, though––Lynn received a demotion. Whether anyone wants to view it as a big or small one, that’s their choice.
Lynn had responsibilities assigned to him as the offensive coordinator. Many considered him to be the X’s and O’s guy that Campbell isn’t. So far, there has yet to be one game this season where that came to fruition. The stats above point to it.
During the ugly Lions-Steelers game, Dan Campbell established an identity for the offense as a play-caller by hook or crook. And that was running the ball down the Steelers’ throat. Proof of that was the Lions rushing for 229 yards in a collective effort.
D’Andre Swift, for the first time in his career, had over 20 rushing attempts in a game. He finished Sunday with 33 carries for 130 yards. That was only the second game in Swift’s career he ran for over 100 yards. His first was during a Week 5 victory over the Jaguars last season. He had 14 carries for 116 yards.
Aiding Swift was Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson, who combined for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
With Jared Goff struggling under center this season, the Lions needed to alter their strategy to win (or tie). And for some reason, it took Campbell taking duties from Lynn for that to happen.
The Lions have been mum on whether the recent change will be permanent or not, but one thing’s for sure. Dan Campbell needs to be the CEO of this team. He needs to be the leader he has been all season, taking ownership for every flaw. Another thing he needs is an offensive coordinator he can trust to develop a winning game plan.
Anthony Lynn needs to prove that it is him.
Follow Kory Woods at KoryEWoods.