Lynn searching for answers as Chargers try to right a sinking ship

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn looks on during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on Sept. 24.
(Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

Anthony Lynn has always been short on words. The direct approach with his players has generally left few secrets as to what the Chargers’ first-year coach is thinking.

But with his team on the wrong end of three straight games, the Chargers better hope Lynn isn’t short on answers.

On Monday, after his team’s worst performance, a 24-10 loss to Kansas City, Lynn admitted that his offense still hasn’t established an identity.

“I don’t think we’re playing the way that I want them to play because we’re 0-3,” Lynn said Monday. “But I believe that our identity is starting to come around. The running game picked up a little bit last week. I would love to commit to it for four quarters, but when we get behind we have to throw the ball to catch up.”

A perked-up running game, though, slowed down as fast as it got started, with Melvin Gordon going to the sideline with a sore left knee. Though Gordon would return to the game, he clearly wasn’t the same player, running just twice for a single yard.


Lynn said Gordon would be monitored this week, though he’ll likely be ready to go Sunday when the Chargers host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Through three games, the Chargers are averaging just 70.7 yards a game on the ground, 25th in the NFL, and 3.4 yards an attempt, 24th in the 32-team league.

Maybe more troubling is that the offense as a whole has sputtered through the first three games, scoring just six touchdowns — half as many as the Kansas City Chiefs, who lead the NFL. The lack of scoring has been something players and coaches have dwelled on.

“There was a span where we were going good offensively,” quarterback Philip Rivers said Sunday. “I think we averaged over 25 a game for six straight years or something. That’s what we’re used to. That’s what I think we’re capable of. But if I don’t play better, and collectively we don’t get it going, then we’re not going to get it done. We’ve got to get it going in a hurry, sitting at 0-3 — something I know I haven’t experienced. I know it’s a long uphill climb, but we’ll keep going.”

One issue could be the number of skill players the Chargers are trying to satisfy. Receivers Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin and tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry all could claim that they deserve more balls headed their way — especially Henry, who had his second zero-catch game of the season Sunday.

“We’ve got to get him involved,” Lynn said of Henry. “We’ve talked about that. Earlier in the games, make sure he gets his touches. He’s too good a player.”

It’s almost exactly what Lynn said after the Chargers didn’t get Henry a pass in the opener in Denver.

Lynn said it’s possible the Chargers could still be looking for the perfect recipe for their offense, trying to figure out how much of each ingredient to use.

“I guess we’re working through it as we’re trying to get this run game going and try to get the ball into the hands of certain receivers,” Lynn said. “We’re still working through that process.”


Lynn said the team is hopeful Joe Barksdale could return at right tackle this week, though he said Michael Schofield played well in his absence. … Lynn said he hasn’t been concerned with the split loyalties from fans at StubHub Center. “I don’t know how the players feel about that. I just know when we give our fans something to cheer about, they’re pretty loud,” Lynn said. “And I respect that, and I appreciate those guys coming out.” … Lynn said he wasn’t sure if the team would continue locking arms as a sign on unity during the national anthem in the coming weeks.

Twitter: @DanWoikeSports