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Chargers hiring former Cowboys assistant Kellen Moore to be offensive coordinator

Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore stands on the sideline.
The Chargers are going to hire former Dallas Cowboys assistant Kellen Moore to be their offensive coordinator.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)
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Moving quickly, the Chargers are hiring Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator.

Moore, 34, spent five seasons coaching in Dallas and three as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback before he and the team parted ways Sunday in what was termed a mutual decision.

He replaces Joe Lombardi, who had the job for two years before being fired following the Chargers’ AFC wild-card playoff loss at Jacksonville.

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The Chargers announced that they had agreed to terms with Moore on Monday in a late-morning news release, about 15 hours after the Cowboys let him go.

A former quarterback at Boise State, Moore was Dallas’ offensive coordinator the last 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).

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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 will be improving a running game that the Chargers struggled to establish throughout 2022. They ranked 30th in yards rushing per game and tied for 30th in yards per rush.

The inability to run cost them significantly in their playoff loss to the Jaguars. Up early 27-0, 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 in rushing overall in each of the last two seasons. The Cowboys had a 1,000-yard rusher in Tony Pollard (1,007) this season, while teammate Ezekiel Elliott finished with 876 yards.

The Chargers haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Melvin Gordon (1,105) in 2017.

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Before beginning the hiring process, Chargers coach Brandon Staley talked about looking for someone familiar with the scheme run by the Rams’ Sean McVay and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan.

“That’s the offense that 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 ends coach).

They also interviewed Jerrod Johnson (Minnesota Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach) and Luke Steckel (Tennessee Titans tight ends coach) before Moore suddenly became available.

Among the Chargers’ next moves will be hiring a quarterbacks coach. Shane Day had the job before being fired along with Lombardi.

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Doug Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach in Dallas. He also was not retained following the 2022 season.

With Moore on staff, Dallas won two NFC East titles and made the playoffs three times.

He’ll take over an offense that features one of the league’s top young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and a touchdown machine in running back Austin Ekeler.

The Chargers finished among the NFL’s top five offenses in points and yards in 2021 but slipped to 13th and ninth in those categories, respectively, this season as injuries decimated Herbert’s offensive line and receiving weapons.

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