Travis Benjamin, Chargers don't believe case of drops contagious

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- It's a homecoming of sorts for Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, as he returns to Buffalo for the first time since serving as the team's interim head coach at the end of the 2016 season.

"For me, it's my first time going back since I left there," Lynn said. "I know a lot of people in Buffalo and in the city and in the organization. But I'm going back to play a football game and hopefully win the football game, so I can't let that distract me."

Lynn appeared a shoo-in to remain head coach in Buffalo, but the Bills had other plans, hiring Sean McDermott. Instead, Lynn landed the Chargers job.

One of Lynn's mentors, Rex Ryan -- who Lynn replaced in Buffalo -- believes Lynn should still be there.

"The big factor is the fact that this team stepped over Anthony and hired somebody else, after there was a lot of speculation that he would be the next head coach for the Bills," Ryan said in this interview with Chris Hayre of Chargers.com. "That's something that's going to stay with Anthony. He's going to downplay it all week, I promise you.

"And the fact he played them last year and destroyed them last year, you move on. The next year it's a totally different team, and all that other stuff is behind you. But at the same time, I say it's all behind you, but there's still a little chip on your shoulder. You want to get out there and put your best out there, let them know they made a mistake."

As Ryan stated, true to form Lynn has downplayed his return to Buffalo, saying he's good and it's just a game.

"I'm where I want to be," Lynn said, when asked about the Buffalo head coaching job last year. "I interviewed there [in Buffalo] and they went a different direction. I didn't think I was the favorite there anyway because how many times do you hire a guy from the staff when you fire the head coach? It doesn't happen too often. I did appreciate the interview, but I'm where I want to be."

Let's take a look at a question from this week's mailbag:

@eric_d_williams: In talking to coaches and players about the issue this week, the one consistent answer I received is the Chargers would stay the course and not do anything different, pointing to the fact that the five drops -- two of which should have been touchdowns -- were an aberration.

"You just move forward," Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "I don't expect that to happen again, not with the way you see these guys practice and you see the plays that they have made in games.

"If it's a young guy that doesn't have much experience, you have to say you have to put that behind you, not let it come back and haunt you going forward. But I don't think that's the case with our guys. They all, everyone has made tremendous plays for us even last year and over the course of training camp and OTAs. So you just keep going."

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Chargers have 56 drops since the start of the 2016 season -- fifth worst in the NFL.

Now, you can certainly point to the fact that the Chargers lean on the passing game more than most teams in the NFL, so that provides more opportunities for drops. Still, those dropped passes have to be somewhat concerning for the coaching staff.

One of the culprits of the handful of drops last week, Travis Benjamin, said he's confident he will make more plays.

"Absolutely," Benjamin said, when asked if he still believes in his ability to make big plays. "I'm seven years in [the NFL]. The way this game goes, you have to continue to push forward.

"With No. 17 [Philip Rivers], his mindset is move on to the next play. He has a saying, 'nunc coepi' ('now I begin'), and for me that means to forget it and move on."

That makes sense. Benjamin and Tyrell Williams have combined for 3,040 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns since 2016, so they've been very productive in the offense, and still have Rivers' trust.

"I just keep playing," Rivers said. "I mean, shoot, they don't want to drop it and I don't want to miss a throw. Those are things that -- it's not effort, it's not want-to, it's not assignment -- something they're not doing right.

"I mean shoot, that's what I mean when I say I love this group. We can all look at it honestly and say who should have made what and who didn't make what. We all had our share."

For answers to more mailbag questions, click here.