2:51pm: The Chargers also announced interim HC Giff Smith received an interview. Interim coaches often receive a chance to keep the job, but no interim tag has been removed since the Jaguars made Doug Marrone their full-time HC in 2017. Smith has been with the Chargers since 2016, mostly as defensive line coach, but is probably not a serious candidate to land the full-time HC gig.
2:09pm: Kellen Moore‘s move from Dallas to Los Angeles did not result in a Chargers uptick on offense, though the young offensive coordinator was not exactly dealt a great hand. Even after a wildly disappointing Bolts season that ended with the firings of Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco, the team is not done with Moore yet.
The Bolts are planning to interview Moore for their vacant HC job, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. This comes shortly after a report indicated Moore, 34, was unlikely to be under consideration for the HC position. But Chargers ownership will give the four-year Cowboys play-caller a chance.
Los Angeles dropped from 13th to 21st in scoring offense from 2022-23, but Justin Herbert‘s injury played a significant role in that. However, Herbert had not consistently shown his superstar-caliber talent under Moore for most of the season. The Chargers played most of the year without Mike Williams and All-Pro center Corey Linsley. Keenan Allen missed the team’s final games, while Austin Ekeler and Josh Palmer missed chunks of the season as well. Injuries are nothing new for the Bolts, and they had not previously ranked outside the top 20 in scoring offense since 2016.
The Chargers fired Joe Lombardi after two seasons, one of them a campaign (2021) in which Herbert was voted the AFC’s Pro Bowl starting QB. Dak Prescott also put together his best season after Moore’s Dallas exit, but the longtime Cowboys passer was productive in 2021 under Moore as well. Prescott’s return from injury that season produced a handful of HC interviews for the former NFL backup QB. Moore did not land any, but the Chargers hired him less than 24 hours after the Cowboys split.
Cooper Rush also kept the car on the road for the Cowboys during a Prescott injury hiatus in 2022, and the Cowboys respectively ranked first and fourth in scoring in 2021 and ’22. Despite an 8-8 season that led to Jason Garrett’s firing, Moore — elevated to the team’s play-caller at just 30 — guided Dallas to a sixth-place offensive finish in 2019. That prompted ownership to insist Mike McCarthy keep Moore. That partnership eventually fizzled, but Moore should still be in the mix for OC jobs — in the likely event he does not land the Chargers’ HC position.
Courtesy of PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker, here is how the Chargers look on the HC carousel so far:
- Bill Belichick, head coach (Patriots): Rumored candidate
- Aaron Glenn, defensive coordinator (Lions): Interview requested
- Patrick Graham, defensive coordinator (Raiders): Interview requested
- Jim Harbaugh, head coach (Michigan): Mutual interest
- Ben Johnson, offensive coordinator (Lions): Interview requested; mutual interest?
- Todd Monken, offensive coordinator (Ravens): Interview requested
- Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): To interview
- Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator (Rams): Interview requested
- Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator (Cowboys): Interview requested
- Giff Smith, interim head coach (Chargers): Interviewed 1/9
- Steve Wilks, defensive coordinator (49ers): Interview requested