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Bolt Beat Chargers Mailbag: Lynn’s worst decision in 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: The Los Angeles Chargers offensive line sits on the bench as the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Dallas Cowboy at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: The Los Angeles Chargers offensive line sits on the bench as the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Dallas Cowboy at AT
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BOCA RATON, FL – DECEMBER 20: Forrest Lamp #76 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers scores a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Memphis Tigers at FAU Stadium on December 20, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON, FL – DECEMBER 20: Forrest Lamp #76 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers scores a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Memphis Tigers at FAU Stadium on December 20, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Bolt Beat’s Friday Chargers mailbag makes a return, with answers to two questions submitted by fans. Send yours in today!

Welcome to the Bolt Beat Friday Mailbag, which covers all things Chargers-related asked about by Chargers fans. This week’s article features two questions; how can you submit yours?

Bolt Beat will take these questions in one of these three ways:

  • Under this article as a comment on Bolt Beat’s Twitter @BB_Chargers
  • Via email at boltbeatmailbag17@gmail.com
  • In the comments section below

Here are this week’s mailbag questions and answers:

What do you see as Anthony Lynn’s biggest coaching mistake of 2018 and could he learn from it? -John Jardel

Two things come to mind when answering this question: Caleb Sturgis and the offensive line. Fans would likely agree two of the biggest headaches of the 2018 season were the ineptitude at kicker to open the year and the failures of the starting five offensive linemen to end the year. So this really comes down to one big coaching mistake: Sticking with continuity too long and not realizing the mistake before it’s too late.

Signing Sturgis in the offseason was the right move; as a multi-year starter with two recent seasons of over 80 percent field goal conversion percentage, he was expected to bring stability to a kicking unit that kept the Chargers out of the postseason in 2017. However, Sturgis never looked comfortable at kicker, finishing his year with the Chargers with a 69.2 percent conversion percentage on field goals, the lowest of his career.

When Sturgis was sidelined for a few weeks, rookie Michael Badgley came in and instantly won the hearts of fans by making ten straight field goals or extra points. The choice seemed obvious: Stick with the rookie. However, Lynn determined Sturgis should retain his job, and was given a chance to be the starter in Seattle. When that failed miserably, Badgley was once again the man at kicker, finishing his season by setting franchise records. Why was there ever hesitation?

For 18 regular season and postseason games, Forrest Lamp watched from the sideline as either a non-starter or an inactive player. The Chargers improved along the line from 2017 with the injection of Mike Pouncey and Michael Schofield into the starting unit, but were breaking down as the season progressed. The declining play of the offensive line led to one of the most embarrassing postseason performances in recent memory, in which Philip Rivers was pressured on an NFL-high 70 percent of his first-half passes. As the line crumbled, Lamp watched.

There aren’t definitive answers as to why Lamp was never brought on to the starting unit, but speculation points to the coaching staff choosing continuity along the offensive line over fresh talent. Whether or not that is true, failing to create a better offensive line cost the Chargers their chances at a Super Bowl.

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