For a while, it seemed like the Chargers offensive coordinator search was going to end in Rams' QB coach Zac Robinson getting the gig. The Chargers did reportedly have interest in a Frank Reich reunion prior to him taking the Panthers job, but that ship sailed.
On Sunday night, it all changed. The Cowboys parted ways with Kellen Moore and almost immediately he became the reported favorite for the Chargers' OC job. All of a sudden, the Chargers were no longer banking on the best of an inexperienced group of play-calling candidates.
That's not to say that Thomas Brown, Joe Brady, or the aforementioned Robinson wouldn't have been good OCs. But this Chargers' opening simply felt different. Brandon Staley is firmly pressed against the hot seat as he enters the final two years of his contract following one of the worst playoff collapses in NFL history. Simply put, there wasn't time to let a first-time offensive coordinator grow into the role.
Moore's availability essentially made him the experienced veteran candidate that replaced Reich. Clearly, the Chargers felt the need to lock him down as soon as he became available on Sunday. It says a lot that Moore's Dallas scheme doesn't 100% align with McVay/Shanahan-based west coast offense that Staley did set out for, yet there was clearly an incentive in experience and prior efficiency running offense in going after him.
Essentially, the Chargers did about as well in getting a tested, efficient offensive coordinator as they could've done after firing Joe Lombardi. This was an opportunity that fell into their lap after Dallas parted ways with Moore.
Chargers are benefitting from the Cowboys' power struggle
Scapegoating Moore seems really unfair at first glance. The Cowboys certainly had their share of offensive struggles in the playoffs, but Moore certainly wasn't the central factor in the 49ers' loss that Lombardi was against the Jaguars.
Dak Prescott threw the most interceptions in the league while Mike McCarthy had some rather wonky moments with game management all year. Tony Pollard was also a huge loss for the Cowboys during the game.
Moore certainly didn't make the decision to pay Ezekiel Elliott a $90 million contract while shipping off Amari Cooper to clear cap space. Despite that, he still had a top-10 offense this year.
Mike McCarthy now will call plays in Dallas, which seems like the result of a power struggle win for him over Moore. While the Cowboys and Moore say that the parting of ways was mutual, the aesthetics of the situation seem to reveal the opposite.
Whether it will work out for the Cowboys remains to be seen, but Moore gets to work with great offensive pieces and Justin Herbert now. Not to mention, McCarthy calling plays didn't work out as well in Green Bay.
The Chargers don't have to rely on a first-time play caller to save Brandon Staley's job and fix what was a broken offense in spite of its pieces this year. Moore maximizes what he gets out of his quarterbacks as was seen with Cooper Rush in 2022 and he can stretch the field very well vertically. Right now, the Dallas' power struggle is looking like it was the Chargers' gain.