He was talking more about the players and coaching staff, but Anthony Lynn’s words this week apply to the entire Chargers organization.
After losing 41-28 to New England in the AFC divisional playoff round, the team has moved on to the business of recovering and rebuilding for next season.
“We won’t be complacent, I can tell you that,” Lynn said. “We had a good year … but after that butt kicking [Sunday], no one will be complacent. Everyone will be looking for ways to get better.”
As the team’s coach, Lynn conducted exit interviews with players Monday and later this week will evaluate his assistants.
He said he hoped to retain as much of his staff as possible but acknowledged that the Chargers’ success could lead to some coaches being lured away by better jobs.
As for the roster, the Chargers will experience the sort of tweaking and reshuffling that every team goes through in the offseason, although no one is expecting an overhaul after this group tied for the best record in the AFC at 12-4.
Prominent among the names on the team’s list of free agents is receiver Tyrell Williams.
In his four NFL seasons, Williams has proven to be a reliable target for quarterback Philip Rivers. A 1,000-yard receiver in 2016, Williams finished the year with 41 catches for 653 yards and five touchdowns.
He has shown the type of production that could attract a more lucrative contract than the Chargers are willing to offer, particularly at a position where they have depth.
Another notable free agent will be Adrian Phillips, who is listed as a safety but appeared at a variety of positions and was an All-Pro special-teams player.
During the second half of the season, Phillips emerged as one of the Chargers’ key contributors on defense. His versatility was vital as injuries mounted, forcing continual adjustments.
Phillips refused to stay out of the game Sunday after suffering an arm injury in the first quarter, Lynn later saying Phillips had torn something.
“First of all, he’s extremely intelligent,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said recently of Phillips. “He’s got a football IQ that is, to say compare him to anybody, he's just one of the most elite guys in that area that I’ve ever been around. So that helps him.”
The most obvious changes for this team figure to come on defense, particularly up front and at linebacker.
Veteran linemen Brandon Mebane, Damion Square and Darius Philon will be free agents after playing significant roles.
Denzel Perryman, who was lost in mid-November to a knee injury, and fellow linebackers Kyle Emanuel and Hayes Pullard, both of whom have started, also will be free agents.
The Chargers finished thin at the position as Jatavis Brown and Kyzir White also suffered season-ending injuries.
Former first-round pick Jason Verrett is another free agent. The cornerback had three interceptions in 14 starts in 2015 but has played little since because of health issues. He appeared in four games in 2016 and one game last season before sitting out this year because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered during conditioning in July.
The Chargers have the 28th pick in the 2019 draft and certainly can’t expect to be as successful as they were in 2018, when they selected safety Derwin James at No. 17. James had one of the finest rookie seasons in the league and was selected All-Pro.
Another former top draft pick, Forrest Lamp, is entering a big offseason. Lamp, an offensive lineman selected in the second round in 2017, was expected to be a starter by now but has been slowed by a knee injury. The Chargers remain high on Lamp and figure to give him every chance to earn a starting spot before the beginning of next season.
A more sentimental decision to be made involves tight end Antonio Gates, who just finished his 16th year with the Chargers.
Gates, 38, has said he wants to continue playing, although the team was ready to part ways with him a year ago before Hunter Henry was lost to a knee injury.
“You don’t like to end your career in this fashion,” Gates said after the New England loss. “That’s just natural. I want to end it on a high note. When you think about what we’ve built here, do we have an opportunity? I really believe we do, in my heart. So, of course, I’d love to come back and play.”
Rivers won’t play in the Pro Bowl because of an ankle injured suffered Sunday. The game is set for Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla. Rivers was injured late in the Chargers’ loss and was limping noticeably afterward. The injury is not thought to be serious.