Anthony Lynn has coached in the NFL for 15 years. He won two Super Bowls as a player. But Sunday, in his first game as a coordinator, he’ll finally get his chance to call the shots.
“I’ve been training to do this all my life,” Lynn said Thursday in his first press conference since replacing Greg Roman. “When I was playing, I knew I was going to coach one day, so I started taking notes on things that I would do if I was coaching way back then.”
But one thing Lynn couldn’t prepare for is taking over someone else’s offense mid-season. The Bills won’t be running “Anthony Lynn’s offense” on Sunday. It’ll be more like Anthony Lynn doing Greg Roman’s offense.
“(My head) was spinning earlier, but things have slowed down,” Lynn said. “You start looking at the whole process and how you want to do it, you look at the playbook and the terminology – this was obviously Greg Roman’s system. I would implement a different system, but I can work within this one. And the coaches around me can, too. So we’re going to make this one work.
“It’s a challenge,” Lynn said later of running someone else’s offense. “I accept the challenge. I think I’m the right guy for the challenge. I’m not going to make any excuses. It’s my responsibility to get us going and we’ll figure it out.”
The first way Lynn is attacking that challenge is by scaling back the number of plays the teams installs before each game so that players have less on their plates, which should allow them to “play faster” – a recurring theme this week. Running back LeSean McCoy said Wednesday that Roman was putting in 80-90 potential plays a week this year, and Lynn implied that might have been a conservative estimate.
“My philosophy is just a little different,” Lynn said. “I want to cut back a little bit and see if we can play a little faster.”
So what is Lynn’s philosophy? What does he want the offense to be known for?”
“I want to play smart, physical football. I want to be explosive,” he said. “… To me, if they give you ground-and-pound, you ground-and-pound. If they give you pass, you pass. I just want to coach an explosive offense, doing multiple things, balance multiple personnel groupings and just take what they give us.
“I’m a personnel-driven guy. I believe in personnel. Get the ball in the hands of players and let them make the plays. Because if you do that, they’ll make way more plays than we’ll ever design.”
One thing Lynn knows he’ll do for sure is call the plays from the coaches’ box instead of the sideline, like Roman did. He came up with that idea a decade ago when he was with the Cowboys.
“When you’re in the booth, you get to see the field,” he said. “I was in the booth once in Dallas and I kind of liked it. I said, if I ever call plays, I’d do it from up top. Just to take the emotions out of it.”
One other interesting comment Lynn made Thursday was about previous opportunities he’s had to call plays and what this chance means to him. He said he’s called plays in the preseason before. Then he added this:
“Ever since, like I said, three years ago I decided I wanted to be an OC. I had an opportunity to do it and my organization denied me. And ever since then I’ve been preparing and hoping to get another opportunity, and it just so happened last week.”
Three years ago would’ve put Lynn on the Jets with Rex Ryan. The team had a tumultuous offseason in 2013, firing general manager Mike Tannenbaum and replacing him with John Idzik. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was also fired, but he was replaced by Marty Mornhinweg.
NJ.com reported at the time that the Jets interviewed at least four other people for the job, but didn’t name Lynn.
Lynn was given a new title that season, however, going from running backs coach to assistant head coach/running backs, which was also his title with the Bills.
Receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle) didn’t practice Thursday. Glenn hasn’t participated since re-injuring his left ankle injury in Week One.
Cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring), tight end Charles Clay (knee), receiver Greg Salas (groin), quarterback Cardale Jones (shoulder) and safety Colt Anderson (foot) were all limited in practice.
Salas, who scored his first career receiving touchdown in Week Two, sustained his injury during Thursday’s practice, Ryan said.
Bills fans in Syracuse won’t be able to watch this week’s game against Arizona. That’s because, after an 0-2 start, the local Fox affiliate is showing the 1 p.m. New York Giants - Washington Redskins game instead.
“We take this very seriously,” station manager Don O’Connor told Brent Axe of NewYorkUpstate.com. “We have our ear to the ground on what the viewers in Central New York want to see. … If the Bills were playing, say, the Patriots and the Giants were playing, say, Jacksonville, I would probably go with the Bills.”