The San Francisco 49ers are set to get their interview process started on Wednesday when they meet with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator and interim head coach Anthony Lynn. The Bills promoted Lynn into the interim role after they fired head coach Rex Ryan following Week 16.
The 49ers interviewed then Bills running backs coach Lynn a year ago, and although he did not get the head coach position, the team wanted to interview him later for the OC job under Chip Kelly. He removed his name from consideration and was subsequently promoted to offensive coordinator after the team fired Greg Roman. Prior to this season, he had spent 12 seasons as a running backs coach and one season as a special teams assistant.
A year ago, our friends at Buffalo Rumblings did not have much to say about Lynn’s coaching ability. Position coaches can be difficult to track in the NFL because they get limited media opportunities, and the offensive and defensive coordinators are the ones who will most often get credit or blame.
A year later, Lynn has some OC experience, and one game as the head coach. We took a few minutes to chat with Buffalo Rumblings editor Chris Trapasso to get his thoughts on Lynn. Here’s what he had to say:
After the Bills got off to an 0-2 start, which featured an offense that wasn't able to sustain drives, they fired Greg Roman and promoted RB coach Anthony Lynn to the OC spot. Right away, the Bills offense got considerably more consistent. Roman -- whom you know well -- became obsessed with the vertical passing game after Tyrod Taylor's impressive year as a downfield passer in 2015, but that obsession really hurt the Bills quarterback.
Lynn emphasized the short-to-intermediate passing game and became more dedicated to the run, believe it or not. In the first two games, Mike Gillislee did not receive a carry, despite rushing 47 times for 267 yards (5.7 ypc) with 3 TDs in five games in 2015 for the Bills. Lynn incorporated him immediately, as a north-south complement to the shifty LeSean McCoy.
There really wasn't a glaring weakness in Lynn's gameplans, however, he did call a reverse to Reggie Bush from inside the 20 yard line in overtime against the Dolphins on Christmas Eve. The play went for a huge loss and essentially knocked the Bills out of Dan Carpenter's field-goal range. A field goal was attempted but missed wide right. That's really the only time Lynn took flack for a "bad" play-call. Buffalo set a bunch of team rushing records under Lynn, and Taylor had another good season. Based on everything I've gathered, he's well-liked by the players and has their respect even with more of a disciplinarian style.
When Rex Ryan was fired, Lynn was the obvious choice to be Buffalo's interim head coach for the season finale and is considered the favorite to be named the Bills' permanent head coach, although team owners have said it's not a lock.