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LA Chargers: Why the 2020 season is important for Anthony Lynn’s future

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 1: Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers walks onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 1: Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers walks onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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Anthony Lynn signed an extension with the LA Chargers during the 2019 season that lasts through the 2021 season, so it may appear as if Lynn will be a part of Charger fans’ lives for two more years.

However, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL and the status of the team a year from now likely is not going to be what fans expect it to be. A year ago today, we still were not sure if Philip Rivers had one year left in the tank with the Chargers are multiple.

Fans also thought that the Chargers were going to build on an impressive 12-4 season, they didn’t. They were the NFL’s worst team in terms of win variance, going 5-11. Now, the 2020 season has become more important for Lynn than it otherwise would have been.

Why the LA Chargers 2020 season will impact Anthony Lynn’s future:

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Most Charger fans seem to like Anthony Lynn, and it is not hard to see why. Lynn took over the Chargers from arguably the most hated recent coach in Chargers history, Mike McCoy, and went 9-7 with the team in year one after a terrible 0-4 start.

Lynn then followed that up with the 12-4 season, which was the first time that the Chargers won 12 games since 2009. That seemingly cemented Lynn’s job for several years.

Then the disappointment of 2019 happened and I would not say that Lynn’s future with the Chargers is guaranteed. Whatever happens in 2020 is going to dictate Lynn’s future, and even with his extension, I would not say right now that Lynn is a guarantee to coach the Chargers in 2021.

The Chargers are loaded with talent in a season that is really important for the team. Tom Telesco went out and gave Lynn more weapons in Trai Turner, Bryan Bulaga, Linval Joseph and Chris Harris, among others. He also re-signed Austin Ekeler and made sure that Hunter Henry would be a Charger with the franchise tag.

The Chargers are loaded and if they have another season with five or fewer wins then the results could be treacherous. Several big-name players are free agents after this season, headlined by Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa and Henry.

If the Chargers have a terrible season that could impact the team’s chances negatively to re-sign some of those guys. While I think Allen and Henry have some sort of franchise loyalty, I do not think Bosa would think twice about taking a similar or bigger deal elsewhere with a contending team.

Having such a bad record with so much talent makes the front office’s job harder, which could sour some opinions on Lynn.

Lynn has more pressure than other years to succeed as well as it appears as if it is his call to run with Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback. Lynn coached Taylor in Buffalo and is bullish on his capabilities as a starter. If Taylor struggles, and Lynn holds onto him for too long before turning to Justin Herbert then that will be viewed very negatively by the front office.

And if he does win five or fewer games again then his record with the team would not even be that impressive. His record with a 5-11 season would be 31-33 (.484), and if you take away the 12-4 season in which the team won a lot of close games that could have went the other way, his record would be 19-29 (.396).

NFL coaches often do not get long leashes in the league. If Lynn had two back-to-back underwhelming seasons, in a year where the team is going all-in with Taylor as the starting quarterback, then I absolutely could see the front office looking to find a new coach to partner with Justin Herbert.

Of course, that is if he has a bad season. If the Chargers bounce back and make the playoffs, especially with Taylor, then I think it gives him at least another three seasons with the Chargers. If the team mulls around average and wins 7-9 games then the 2021 season will be the ultimate deciding factor.

A great year will extend his job security. An underwhelming year could lead to 2020 being the last season that he coaches.

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While this upcoming season is far from a Super Bowl or bust season for the LA Chargers, it may feel that way for Anthony Lynn.

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