Chargers RB Austin Ekeler Hopeful That OC Kellen Moore Can Guide Offense in Becoming More Consistent

Austin Ekeler shares his thoughts on recently hired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore joining the Chargers coaching staff.

After the Chargers fell short to the Jaguars, 31-30, in the Wild Card Round despite at one point holding a 27-0 lead, the organization decided changes to part of the coaching staff were needed.

While Tom Telesco will remain as general manager and Brandon Staley as head coach, the Chargers fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, quarterbacks coach Shane Day and inside linebackers coach Michael Wilhoite.

In doing so, the team casted a wide net of interviews to find their next offensive play-caller for quarterback Justin Herbert. After taking six candidates into consideration in which they held interviews with, the Chargers reached an agreement with Kellen Moore to become the next offensive coordinator less than 24 hours after his departure from the Dallas Cowboys.

Running back Austin Ekeler, who powered his way towards a league-best 18 scrimmage touchdowns this past season, spoke on behalf of Moore’s arrival and what he hopes the offense can achieve moving forward.

“We had success last season, but we’re still looking for a new chemistry to find some more consistency,” Ekeler said on NFL Network’s Super Bowl Live. The NFL is so fluid, so we’re bringing Kellen in to see if we can get something going with him.

“He had a good track record with Dallas. Top of the categories in some of these statistics. So let’s see if this is a new combination that can help us stay consistent. Because that’s what it’s going to come down to at the end of the season. We can’t have these up and downs.”

In identifying ways the team can perhaps overcome their inconsistencies on offense, Staley stated at his end-of-season press conference that he has a strong desire to elevate the rushing attack to become a more balanced operation.

The newly hired Moore, who’s experienced leading one of the top rushing offenses with the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, will enter the fold in Los Angeles and try to uplift the Chargers’ 30th ranked run game.

“When it comes to coordinators, I think they have to play with the hand that is dealt to them,” Ekeler said. “When you have Zeke and Pollard, obviously those are two great runnings backs that can get it done in different types of ways. [Moore] is going to have the same mindset coming in, being our offense coordinator. … we’ll have to create a chemistry. That’s what it comes down to.”

Moore’s consistent run game in Dallas generated the ninth-best in the league in 2022, as Elliott finished with 876 yards and Pollard eclipsing the 1,000-yard benchmark for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, Ekeler was nearly a one man show for the Chargers’ backfield, handling over 200 carries for the second time in two seasons. He finished with 915 yards on the ground and 13 rushing touchdowns. But for large portions of the season, the Chargers shifted away from their run game after not being able to produce at an efficient level.

Ekeler shared that he and Moore have spoken since the hiring was made official two weeks ago. He told his new coordinator that he still hasn’t gotten over the somber feeling of the playoff loss, and will use it as motivation throughout the offseason.

“We chatted for a little bit,” Ekeler said, “I told him, ‘look man, you’re coming into a team that is hungry. We are ready to go.’ I know me, I’m going to be salty until we get into training camp. And I’m going to make sure I let everyone know and remind everybody that we were up 27-0 and lost. And we’ve got to get back there because we’ve got unfinished business to do. So I’m excited for him to come in and I hope he’s ready too.”

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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“That is the way this game is -- you win, you lose, you celebrate and you suffer.” -- Vin Scully
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