The Chargers’ embarrassing 45-0 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday was the type of late-season performance that could have created impulsive changes – like the New York Jets did with firing their defensive coordinator on Monday morning.

“Yeah, I expect to be the coach of the team tomorrow,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said in an agitated tone following the loss at SoFi Stadium.

Lynn was correct. He remained the Chargers’ head coach on Monday and will be for the rest of the season, according to multiple reports. Team ownership will evaluate Lynn and his coaching staff after the Chargers (3-9) play their final four games of the season.

Lynn acknowledged Monday that it’s been a down season for him and he’s unsure if he’ll return next season, but he remains confident that he’s the right person to turn the organization around and pointed to the success he had during the first two seasons of his four-year tenure.

“I don’t have time to worry about job status, to be honest with you,” Lynn said. “As long as I’m the head coach here, my focus is trying to get this thing back on track and finish this season out the right way.”

Lynn and the Chargers will attempt to move forward from the largest defeat (by margin) in franchise history, but they won’t burn the tape or bury a football to forget about the blowout – a ritual Lynn said he’s seen with three different teams.

The Chargers forced themselves on Monday to relive their ugly performance by having a film review.

“Pretty important to learn from your mistakes,” defensive end Joey Bosa said. “Maybe that could be a reason why we’re repeating similar mistakes over and over if we’re not learning from past mistakes. So maybe just forgetting about it isn’t the best move.”

The Chargers struggled in all three phases against the Patriots, but special teams bothered Lynn the most the morning after. He said he’s contemplating taking over as the special teams coordinator.

Lynn reassigned special teams coordinator George Stewart to a senior analyst on Nov. 25 and promoted Keith Burns for the position, but Lynn and Chris Caminiti also had input.

Having too many voices might explain why the Chargers had trouble with communication on Sunday. The Chargers had 10 players on the field twice and once had 12 during special teams situations. The disastrous unit allowed a 70-yard punt return touchdown, had a blocked field goal return for a touchdown and several other special teams mistakes.

“Yeah, we may eliminate some of the coaching by committee,” Lynn said about special teams. “I’ve been helping them out a little bit in that area because I do have a special teams background. I’ve been trying to decide this morning if I just want to take it over. We’re going to do something. It’s going to be different and it’s going to be better than what you saw last night.”

Lynn said he’s unsure about taking over as special teams coordinator because he has too many roles as the head coach on game days.

“I just know throughout the week is not fair to my assistants if I’m the voice on the field and then I turn it over to them on game day,” Lynn said. “I don’t think I did them justice yesterday.”

Lynn said he’s not ready to replace kicker Michael Badgley, who missed a field-goal attempt and had one blocked against the Patriots. Badgley has missed seven field-goal attempts and three extra-point attempts this season.

The Chargers signed former UCLA kicker JJ Molson to the practice squad last week.

“Michael hasn’t been as consistent as he has been in the past,” Lynn said. “If this continues, we may have to (replace him), but right now that guy (Molson) is only here for insurance.”

The Chargers will also need to regroup offensively after back-to-back sluggish performances. This week they host an Atlanta Falcons team known for scoring with quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones.

Lynn said rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has struggled recently because the offensive line hasn’t given him enough time to operate, but he also said Herbert is locking onto certain targets instead of spreading the ball around the way he was earlier this season.

“We have to stop looking for certain targets and just get back to our progressions,” Lynn said. “We just have to get other guys involved. Early on, this ball was going a lot of different places. We can’t start back forcing the ball to certain people and expect the offense to get back into the rhythm that it was earlier.”

As for the defense, they’ll need their younger players to step up and get over their growing pains for the final stretch of the season. Rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray showed signs of that Sunday with his 14 combined tackles and first career sack.

“I think we played with a lot of heart yesterday, even if we got beat by 50 or 45 points,” Bosa said. “I think we played hard. A guy like Kenneth Murray to show up and play with that kind of heart in that situation says a lot.”

Bosa provided optimism by saying the team has plenty of potential for next season with Herbert and a healthy defense with safety Derwin James, linebacker Drue Tranquill and defensive end Melvin Ingram.

“We’re so close,” Bosa said. “We have great players.”

But James, Tranquill and Ingram aren’t returning for the final four games against the Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers will attempt to finish strong without those key players to carry momentum for when they’re possibly back next year. Lynn, however, might not be there for that.

“If I’m the head coach here in the future, then I have some tough decisions to make this offseason starting with myself and everyone else,” Lynn said.

But first, the final four games.


By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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