When Kellen Moore had his first introductory media availability last week, he emphasized that whatever offensive system is created for the Los Angeles Chargers, it would be born out of collaboration.
“The exciting part of these situations is just building a system around the players….You know this isn’t a drop a playbook down from Dallas and say, ‘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, Keenan…there’s so much good, so I think we got to make sure we incorporate that and we don’t lose all the good that’s going on here.” He went on to say that he’s looking to incorporate parts from Dallas into these positive pieces of the Chargers offense and create something unique for the team.
Below, we’ll look at how Moore may impact this offense.
Having More than One Star Running Back
In a press conference in December, Moore stated that Tony Pollard was their ‘other’ star running back. He felt good about both Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. The career-high stats for Pollard from this past season solidify that statement.
The idea of two main backs, not just a number one and number two but two starting running backs, is something he can translate into the Chargers system. In his media availability, he mentioned having two or three backs and trying to keep them as fresh as possible throughout the season.
Austin Ekeler has been incredible but based on the injuries to Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry one lead back who is required to do everything is not sustainable. Over time, it becomes predictable for defenses, leading to a cap in production in the run game. Along with having more than one star running back, the routes also need a changeup.
More Rushing on the Outsides of the Offensive Line
According to Pro Football Focus, Ezekiel Elliott got the most yards this past season rushing off the left edge (155) and the right edge (145) of the offensive line. Most designed run attempts were from the middle right (44) and left edge (43).
Elliot’s touchdowns came from all areas of the field but getting yardage is really where the Chargers should focus, considering how difficult it was for Ekeler to gain even an inch this season. For Pollard, it was a similar story. Most of his designed rushing attempts came outside of the offensive line, from the left edge (35) and the right (45), where he had 255 yards and 196 yards respectively.
Most of Ekeler’s designed rushing attempts came from the middle left (38) and left edge (37) of the offensive line, while most of his rushing yards came from the middle right (197), right edge (155) middle left (134), and left edge (130).
Some of those shots up the middle did lead to success when Ekeler was able to break through tackles (he got the second-most touchdowns of the season with runs from the right guard area of the offensive line), but sometimes he was stopped dead. Being able to vary the routes with a particular focus on the edges of the offensive line, may bring more yardage and have less wear and tear on him throughout the season.
Leaning into Bigger Plays and Deeper Throws
Moore mentioned that what he appreciated about Mike Williams was the way that he was able to make those 50-50 plays. You know, those ones where Williams is like a literal superhuman in the air. CeeDee Lamb was that person for Dallas this year, and in particular, was incredible at making deep receptions. He caught four touchdowns off receptions of 20-plus yards and three from receptions of 10 to 19 yards. Williams was the same way, having had one touchdown this year on a deep reception and two on medium ones.
Dak Prescott mixed up the lengths of his passes, with 50 deep passing attempts, 107 medium (10 to 19 yards), 225 short (zero to nine yards), and 60 behind the line of scrimmage.
Herbert’s passing attempts leaned more in the short direction, with 73 deep passing attempts, 127 medium, 339 short, and 134 behind the line of scrimmage. Though Herbert’s completion percentage was low with these deep attempts (34.2%), he still had seven touchdowns this past season with passes of 20-plus yards.
The emphasis on short passes was due to the lack of receiving options, even last year when both Williams and Keenan Allen were healthy, he still attempted 344 short passes, which again was much more than any other distance of pass he attempted.
In the Dallas offense this year, it was clear what great receiving weapons could do for the team, but it was also clear that Prescott’s passing game was more varied than Herbert’s, creating more opportunities for these big plays.
The Chargers 100% need more receiving weapons, but Williams excels in big play environments. Herbert’s specialty is big chunk plays with big yardage attached, and that talent has been wasted in the last couple of years in this offense. It will be interesting to see how Moore will unlock Hebert’s explosive play ability.
Kellen Moore Wants To Utilize Every Player
On top of finding a system that works for the Chargers, Moore also mentioned wanting to utilize each player on the active roster to make a difference in the game. We saw the success that the Chargers had when utilizing all players on the defense during times of peak injury, which led to breakout performances from Kyle Van Noy, Morgan Fox, Breiden Fehoko, and even Michael Davis.
Under Moore the Chargers offense will become as wide and varied as the defense, giving other individuals on the roster a chance to shine even in non-injury situations.