Moving fast, the Chargers hire Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator.
The 34-year-old Moore spent five seasons coaching at Dallas and three seasons as backup quarterback for the Cowboys before he and the team parted ways on Sunday in what was called a mutual decision.
He replaces Joe Lombardi, who had the job for two years before being fired following the Chargers’ AFC wild card loss in Jacksonville.
The Chargers announced in a press release late Monday morning that they had reached an agreement with Moore about 15 hours after the Cowboys let him go.
Moore, a former quarterback at Boise State, was Dallas’ offensive coordinator for the past four years. During that time, the Cowboys ranked second in the NFL in total offense (averaging 391 yards per game) and scoring (27.7 points per game).
Dallas finished first in points and yards in 2021 and fourth in points and 11th in yards this season.
One of Moore’s obvious tasks is to improve on a running game the Chargers struggled to pull off in 2022. They ranked 30th in yards per game and tied for 30th in yards per rush.
The inability to run cost them significantly in their playoff loss to the Jaguars. Going 27-0 early, the Chargers ended up losing 31-30, in part because they couldn’t control the ball or clock in the second half.
Dallas was ninth overall in rushing in each of the past two seasons. The Cowboys had a 1,000-yard rusher this season in Tony Pollard (1,007), while teammate Ezekiel Elliott finished with 876 yards.
The Chargers have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Melvin Gordon (1,105) in 2017.
Before starting the hiring process, Chargers coach Brandon Staley talked about looking for someone familiar with the Rams’ Sean McVay and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan plan.
“That’s the offense I believe in,” Staley said.
The Chargers then interviewed three Rams assistants: Zac Robinson (passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach), Greg Olson (senior offensive assistant), and Thomas Brown (assistant head coach/tight coach).
They also interviewed Jerrod Johnson (Minnesota Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach) and Luke Steckel (Tennessee Titans tight ends coach) before Moore suddenly became available.
One of the Chargers’ next moves is to hire a quarterbacks coach. Shane Day had the job before he was fired along with Lombardi.
Doug Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach in Dallas. He was also not retained beyond the 2022 season.
With Moore employed, Dallas won two NFC East titles and made the playoffs three times.
He will take on an offense with one of the league’s best young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and a touchdown machine in running back Austin Ekeler.
The Chargers finished in the NFL’s top five offenses in points and yards in 2021, but dropped to 13th and ninth respectively in those categories this season as injuries decimated Herbert’s offensive line and received guns.