If the LA Chargers need one concrete reason to fire Anthony Lynn all they have to do is look at their quarterback, Justin Herbert.
The LA Chargers lost an extremely ugly game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in which the offense only scored 17 points. While he was not perfect, Justin Herbert still threw for over 300 yards and the team got a big contribution from the returning Austin Ekeler. So why only 17 points?
His mismanagement was on full display. The Bolts wasted time on a clunky drive at the end of the first half and punted away the chance for points despite trailing by 11 against a playoff team.
They mismanaged time, their timeouts and ran uninspired play calls in crucial moments in the game — whether it be running a simple halfback dive on fourth and one, a speed option on third and inches when a quarterback sneak would suffice or finally running that sneak on third and goal at the end of the game while the offensive line dropped back into pass coverage.
It was bad and now the narrative after the game (and rightfully so) has been that the LA Chargers must move on from Lynn as their head coach. Lynn is a great motivator and mentor, but it is clear that he may not be suited to run the entire football team.
There is a long laundry list of reasons why Anthony Lynn should be let go but there is one that is rather simple and perhaps the most compelling: for the sake of Justin Herbert. Before, I argued that it would be unfair to Herbert to give him an interim head coach for half a season before hiring a new coach. However, at this point, that is what Herbert needs.
The Chargers need to gain some sort of momentum down the stretch. I know that the idea of tanking is fun and all but the team is not going to get Penei Sewell — the top offensive line prospect in the draft — and the difference between owning the fourth pick and the ninth pick really is not much.
Instead, it will be better for Herbert and the team’s future if the rookie quarterback can at least get some wins down the stretch. Winning 2-3 starts in your rookie season is not great for a rookie’s confidence. Sure, he is playing great, but it is time to flip that culture and start flipping it now.
The team simply won’t do that with Lynn.
Sure, Lynn has absolutely had a hand in developing Justin Herbert and he does deserve credit for being a good mentor to the young quarterback but how much did he really develop the Oregon quarterback? There was such a limited training camp and no preseason and a lot of it was Hebert having to learn on the fly once he was thrust into the start against Kansas City.
The biggest hand in developing him has been new quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton. And while I do not think Hamilton is head coach material either, he does have some experience with the job (in the XFL) and he would be a fine option for Herbert to be an interim coach for five games.
It is just shocking how big of a wasted season this has become. Yes, the Chargers are battling injuries and the defense has been much worse than expected but Herbert has been performing at an elite level and has absolutely nothing to show for it.
Consider this: in the history of the NFL, only 20 quarterbacks have averaged over 300 yards per game with a 66% completion percentage (Dak Prescott this season is one, but only played five games).
The worst record that a team has had with this kind of quarterback performance was 7-9. The Saints won seven games three times with Drew Brees putting up these numbers and the Falcons once with Matt Ryan.
The absolute worst with this kind of precedent is seven wins. The Chargers are at three and at this point, 5-11 feels like a serious stretch. That is horrid.
Justin Herbert is young and he has plenty of time in the future to win games but Anthony Lynn has wasted the best rookie quarterback season in NFL history because of his mismanagement.
There is a reason why the LA Chargers have been in so many close games this year and it is not because of Lynn, it is because of Herbert. And with a better head coach, the Chargers easily could be a winning football team this season.
No move has been announced at the time of writing this. But Tom Telesco and the Spanos family have to look no further than their new franchise quarterback for a solid reason to part ways with Lynn.