Back in January, the Detroit Lions and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn mutually agreed to part ways after just one season together. At the midway point of the 2021 season, head coach Dan Campbell took play-calling duties away from Lynn but kept the veteran coach on staff for the rest of the season.
Lynn has since found a job with the San Francisco 49ers as their assistant head coach/run game coordinator, while the Lions have replaced Lynn by promoting tight ends coach Ben Johnson to offensive coordinator.
Throughout the entire process, Lynn was credited with being a pro’s pro for handling a tough situation well. He never spoke ill of the Lions organization, nor did it appear he ever got frustrated with his lessened role with the team.
On Friday afternoon, Lynn joined the Woodward Sports show “The Bottom Line,” reuniting him with former Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards, whom he overlapped with while serving as the New York Jets running backs coach.
Lynn continued to speak the Lions’ praises despite no longer working for the team. He believes the Lions are building something special in Detroit, and he even “fully expects” future success within the organization. He also, unprompted, gave team owner Sheila Ford Hamp some serious praise.
Here are the most interesting questions and answers from the interview.
Note: Questions are paraphrased, and the non-Lions questions and answers are not included below. For the full interview, you can watch it over on Woodward Sports’ YouTube page (starting at 1:31:40).
How were the Lions able to maintain the locker room through early adversity?
“Great leadership. Dan Campbell did a helluva job creating a culture. I know the record didn’t show it, but the foundation is being laid for future success right here in Detroit. I’m here now, I came back to move my shit. Enjoying the snow and the whole nine. But it was outstanding leadership. Those young men showed up every single day to work and to get better. And I feel like they got better as the year went on. We had a long way to go, but I did feel like we made some improvements.”
Was the Lions’ strong finish due to young players learning how to finish games?
“No doubt about it, but you also saw Taylor Decker come back at left tackle. He missed the first nine games. Then you saw Josh Reynolds, that was a big-time acquisition. We got him about Week 9, Week 10. Those guys made a heck of a difference, but guys like (Amon-Ra) Saint (Brown), those guys were coming along the whole time and just getting better, like you said, Braylon. And once they got more seasoned, it was clicking a little bit in the second half of the season, I feel like.”
Can the Lions win with Jared Goff?
“I think you look at Jared Goff’s track record when he was in Los Angeles. He was the quarterback of that team when he went to the Super Bowl. So they could absolutely win with Jared Goff.”
What drew you to Detroit, and what is the general consensus about coming to Detroit these days?
“Well, I didn’t know many people in the organization, but I did know about (general manager) Brad Holmes and (assistant GM) Ray Agnew, and I liked what they did with the LA Rams. They were always trying to win it every single year, personnel-wise, and I respected that.
“In coming here, I’ve coached Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn. I’ve been on the same team with those guys, and kinda along the way encouraged them to do what they’re doing now. So it was easy for me to come here and work with those two young men and try to help them build something special here, which I believe they’re going to get done.
“I know people keep saying, ‘It’s the same old, same old,’ but when I got here, I was so impressed with this ownership. Sheila (Ford Hamp) is doing a heck of a job giving the Lions everything they need to be successful. And I do believe Dan and A.G., they’re laying the foundation right now for future success here, and I fully expect that (to happen).”
What was the feeling inside the facility about Matthew Stafford and the trade?
“When that happened, and we didn’t sign the (in-house free agent) receivers, we knew we were going into a little bit of a rebuild mode. Players saw it as an opportunity. We tried to play as many people as we could, tried to expose everyone just to see who was going to step up and take charge and be the next guy. That created a lot of competition every single week in practice, and coach Campbell did a good job developing practices where we could have that competition, and that made the season, to me, more interesting, because you never hit that spot to where guys feel like they didn’t want to come to work, didn’t want to show up. Guys were showing up because they’re fighting for jobs year-round, and they know what’s to come over the next couple of years.”
Will the Lions draft a quarterback to push Jared Goff?
“They’ve got Tim Boyle on staff. You didn’t see Tim a lot, because he was hurt for half the season and then he came in with one week of preparation and played in the Pittsburgh game. Then he played a couple weeks later. David Blough, those guys, they deserve an opportunity as well.”
What will you miss most about Detroit?
“I’mma miss this town, this city. I think this is a great city. I haven’t spent a lot of time here other than playing games in and out, but I live here right downtown, right on top of the Westin Book Cadillac, and I love the downtown area.”