Now that the dust has settled (more or less) on the sudden firing of Greg Roman as the Bills’ offensive coordinator, it’s a good time to take a look at the man who will be taking over the reins of the team’s offense. Here are a few things to know about new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.
He’s a former NFL player
After four years of college ball at Texas Tech (pre-Air Raid offense), Lynn went undrafted in 1993 but still managed to carve out a six-year career with the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. He served primarily as a blocker and a special teamer, appearing in 83 games but recording only 28 carries for 177 yards (67 of which came on one rush) and three catches for 35 yards without ever finding the end zone. Most of his carries (24) came in 1996 with the 49ers, the year he recorded his only start (in the same game that a certain future Bills receiver made his first start). He spent four of his six seasons in Denver, earning two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led squads of 1997 and 1998. He retired at age 31 after the 1999 campaign, and made his way into coaching the next year.
The Bills are the sixth stop in his coaching career
After spending three seasons in Denver as a special teams assistant (under special teams coach and current Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison), Lynn moved on to coaching running backs. He made stops in Jacksonville, Dallas, and Cleveland, before finding his way on to Rex Ryan’s staff in New York in 2009. Lynn was with Rex for all five of his seasons with the Jets before moving on to Buffalo with him last season, where he picked up the title of "assistant head coach" to go with his duties in charge of the running backs.
He’s worked with running backs all over the spectrum
In his 13+ seasons coaching running backs, he’s had players of all body types and skill levels to work with. He started out in Jacksonville, where the start of his career coincided with Fred Taylor’s career-high 1,574 rushing yards. He worked with Julius Jones in Dallas, helping him to the two best rushing totals of his seven-year career, and worked with Jamal Lewis in Cleveland as the big-bodied rusher’s career was coming to a close.
With the Jets, he coached All-Pro backs on the downside of their careers (Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson), solid performers the middle of their careers (Chris Ivory), and the start of their runs (Shonn Greene, whose production fell off a cliff once he went to the Titans). Even with the Bills last season, he coached the big-bodied Karlos Williams and the small Mike Gillislee to expectation-busting seasons.
He’s been a common factor in some great rushing offenses
While there are a lot of factors that go into a team’s production on the ground, especially personnel and play-calling, Lynn has coached backs in some great rushing offenses over the years:
|Year||Team||Run Off. Rank|
Teams he’s been a part of have finished in the bottom half of the league in rushing as often as they’ve finished first overall. They’ve had eight top-ten finishes and five in the top five. Again, a lot goes into such factors, but he certainly coaxes the most out of his running backs and has earned the honor to coach the primary pieces of some of the top rushing offenses of the last decade.
I don't know what the future holds for the Bills' offense with Lynn at the helm. He's never been a play-caller, so there could be some growing pains as he learns the role and how to make scripts and adjustments, but the offense shouldn't be a huge departure from what was happening under Roman. That said, there are some things that needed to change from the first two games, and if Lynn is the one to turn the offense around he could be in store for a big promotion as soon as next season.