Kellen Moore ‘really, really excited’ to get started with Chargers

Kellen Moore ‘really, really excited’ to get started with Chargers

Kellen Moore got to know Justin Herbert while filming a TV commercial for an Oregon car dealership this past summer. Moore then got to know Brandon Staley during a two-day joint practice between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chargers during training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.

So when the Chargers went looking for a new offensive coordinator after firing Joe Lombardi after their playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, they settled quickly on Moore. His connections with Herbert, the Chargers’ standout quarterback, and Staley, their head coach, made it seem like a no-brainer.

It was a quick no-brainer, Moore recalled Wednesday, but a no-brainer nevertheless. Moore departed Dallas on Sunday after four seasons as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator and was hired for the same job by the Chargers the following day, a whirlwind move for him and both teams.

“I love Dallas,” Moore said during a video conference call. “I’ve been in one spot for eight years – three years as a player and five years as a coach. I love everything about that place. It’s certainly a special place to me, but as we went through the process, it felt like change could be really good for all of us. I felt like I was in that space. It works for both sides. It’s an awesome opportunity for Dallas. It’s an awesome opportunity for me. Certainly, really, really excited for how it played out.”

Now comes the hard part.

Staley and the Chargers hired Moore to raise the level of their offensive game, fulfilling the promise shown by Herbert during his first three seasons in the NFL, after a standout career at the University of Oregon. Conventional wisdom suggested the Chargers had gotten stale under Lombardi.

Moore, 33, used the phrase “really, really excited,” several times during his nearly 25-minute call with reporters, especially when talking about working with Herbert, who has thrown for 4,300 yards or more in each of his three seasons since the Chargers drafted him sixth overall in 2020.

“I hadn’t spent a ton of time with him outside of those couple of days,” Moore said of filming the commercial with Herbert. “I’ve always watched him from afar. Loved watching him play at Oregon and, certainly, what he’s done in the NFL, and so just really, really excited. He’s an awesome, awesome person, awesome player.”

It was far too early for Moore to say how he might tweak the Chargers’ offense for the 2023 season, but he did indicate he would likely blend some of what’s worked so well in the past for the Chargers with what the Cowboys did so effectively with quarterback Dak Prescott directing their attack.

“We’ll do it together,” he said. “This isn’t dropping a playbook down from Dallas and saying, ‘You learn this and we’ll do this.’ There’s so much good stuff that’s going on here, certainly, with Justin and all the guys – Mike (Williams), Keenan (Allen) and all of those guys. There’s so much good. We’ve got to make sure we incorporate that.”

Staley said during his season-ending news conference last month that there needed to be a better marriage between the Chargers’ passing and running games for 2023, after a season in which they were third in the 32-team NFL with 4,791 yards passing but 30th with 1,524 yards rushing.

Moore praised a youthful Chargers offensive line that includes left tackle Rashawn Slater, left guard Jamaree Slater and is led by veteran center Corey Linsley. He also expressed admiration for running back Austin Ekeler, who led the league with 18 touchdowns this past season.

“By no means are you going to walk in and say, ‘I’ve got all the answers, let’s go,’” Moore said. “I’m really, really excited to work with Brandon and his staff and these players and find the formula that works for us. There will be pieces they’ve been able to establish and have some success. Let’s incorporate that. We’ll have some stuff from Dallas. There’s a balancing act to the running game.”