December 5, 2023

Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore claims there is no added motivation for him ahead of a Monday Night Football matchup against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys.

“It’s obviously fun,” Moore said Friday about playing the Cowboys. “I spent eight years there so there’s a lot of relationships you love and appreciate there, a lot of people you’re close to and you’ll be close to for a long time. It’ll be fun to see all those people… but after that aspect of it you’ve just got to get to a football game.”

A few Chargers players may slightly disagree.

Moore, a former NFL quarterback, spent the final three seasons of his playing career in Dallas before making the transition to coaching. The 35-year-old was the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach in 2018 and their offensive coordinator from 2019 through the end of last season.

After another early playoff exit, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy announced a “mutual decision to part ways” with Moore in January. Within hours, Moore was announced as the Chargers’ new offensive coordinator. The Chargers (2-2) host the Cowboys (3-2) at 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday in a primetime matchup. Moore isn’t publicly calling this a revenge game. Not even close. But some players in the Chargers locker room appear to be thinking of it that way.

Chargers OC Kellen Moore
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at SoFi Stadium on October 01, 2023, in Inglewood, California. Moore and the Chargers face his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, in Week 6.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Image/Getty Images

“Kellen wants to put up 100 points if he can,” Chargers receiver Simi Fehoko, who previously played under Moore in Dallas, said via The Athletic. “And he’s going to keep scoring if he can.”

The Cowboys ranked second in the league in total offense (391.0 yards per game) and scoring (27.7 points per game) during Moore’s four-year run as offensive coordinator and player-caller, according to the Associated Press.

Moore served as the backup QB and mentor to Dak Prescott during the latter’s first two seasons in the NFL. Then, as a coach, Moore helped Prescott set the Cowboys’ franchise record with 37 passing touchdowns in 2021 on his way to becoming one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

“He’s more than a coach,” Prescott said of Moore earlier this week. “Obviously, he was a teammate that turned into a coach, but he’s a friend. A friend for life. Talked to him earlier in the year, wished him luck, but obviously we’ve had our own things and our hands full. It will be great when I see him at some point come Monday.”

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Moore kept control of play-calling duties even after Mike McCarthy was hired as head coach ahead of the 2020 season. The former Super Bowl-winning coach of the Green Bay Packers had previously stated his desire to always call plays for his teams. McCarthy is back running the offense this season with Moore in Los Angeles.

But the Cowboys’ season isn’t exactly going as planned.

McCarthy and the Cowboys are coming off the franchise’s worst loss since 2013—a 42-10 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. Through five games, the Cowboys are 17th in the NFL in yards per game (327.4) and sixth in points (26.8). That latter statistic does factor in three defensive touchdowns and a special-teams score, however. The Cowboys have scored touchdowns on just seven of 19 Red Zone possessions, according to ESPN, fifth-worst in the NFL.

Prescott’s QB rating (87.5) and passing yards per game (212.2) are the worst since his second year in the NFL. The two-time Pro Bowler is also on pace for 17 touchdown passes and 6.6 yards per pass attempt, both of which would be career lows across a full season.

The Chargers, fresh off a bye week, rank fifth in the NFL in points per game and third in yards per game while having the fewest turnovers in the league.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and McCarthy decided to move on from Moore after a second consecutive playoff loss to the 49ers last season. But that doesn’t mean the three-time Super Bowl champion is excited to see Moore coaching elsewhere.

“I have dreaded seeing Kellen on this occasion,” Jones joked Friday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “Kellen’s one of my favorites as far as individuals. He’s a talented coach, make no mistake about it.”