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'A Fantastic Match': Why the NFL World is Fired Up About the Kellen Moore-Justin Herbert Pairing

Kellen

The NFL world loves the Bolts hiring of Kellen Moore.

And they can't wait to see what the Chargers Offensive Coordinator does in powder blue, especially now that he's paired with quarterback Justin Herbert.

Chargers.com spent Thursday at Super Bowl Radio Row chatting with analysts and experts alike to see how Moore's arrival with the Bolts resonated across the league.

The first reaction? People raved about it.

"It's a rare opportunity to get an offensive coordinator who's had the production that Kellen Moore has had and to bring him in to work with a quarterback like Justin Herbert," said NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. "It's a fantastic match, it was a coveted job and really the only reason Kellen was available was because the Cowboys wanted to pivot and run Mike McCarthy's offense.

"The Panthers were really impressed when they interviewed Kellen for their head coaching job. They ended up with a great coach, too, in Frank Reich, but Kellen is still an up and comer," Pelissero added. "He's still really young and he's got a ton of experience. I think it's going to be great for everybody involved."

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson added: "Kellen Moore is a great hire. His last couple of years in Dallas, I think the results kind of speak for themselves ... they've had an amazing offense. Only the Chiefs have been consistently better."

And NFL Network's Brian Baldinger said: "I thought it was a good hire, he's got experience. He's probably going to be a head coach one day, but I'd like to see him with Justin Herbert and that group to see how he does."

The Los Angeles Chargers today agreed to terms with Kellen Moore as the team's offensive coordinator.

Moore's resumé with the Cowboys, as Monson alluded to, is an impressive one.

According to PFF, Dallas ranked second in total offense and third in EPA/play in Moore's four years as the Cowboys offensive play caller.

But what specifically do pundits like about the Moore hire?

They expect a more potent Chargers offense in 2023, especially when it comes to the downfield passing attack.

Will Brinson on CBS Sports pointed to the quarterback's average depth of target [ADOT], a stat used to measure how far down the field he's throwing the ball.

Among quarterbacks with at least 350 pass attempts in 2022, Dallas' Dak Prescott ranked sixth with an ADOT of 8.2 yards. Herbert was 21st among the same group at 6.4.

"You can easily make a case Justin Herbert throws the best deep ball in football. Could you argue other people? Yes, but Herbert, he gets deep, accurate," Brinson said. "His vertical ball is so accurate and so on point, it gets out so quick and so easily, that it's a waste to not have him throwing deep more often.

"Kellen Moore, you look at the ADOT for Dak Prescott over the last four years and it's above eight yards every single season," Brinson continued. "You look at the Chargers last year, they were [near the bottom] in the NFL in terms of ADOT.

"The whole job of a coaching staff is to accentuate the skillset of the players on the roster, so an offensive coordinator should be there to emphasize what a quarterback does best," Brinson added. "And I think what you're going to see from Kellen Moore, he's going to accentuate what Justin Herbert does best, which is throw the football."

Even on a broader level, given Herbert's skillset, those around want to see more high-flying attack in 2023.

"One of the things Justin Herbert should be able to excel at is stretching the field. We see it when it's crunch time, like that game against the Titans where he's got to have it, he rolls to his right and hits Mike Williams," said Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk. "Those are the kinds of things that I think Kellen Moore will bring to an offense on a down to down basis that we didn't necessarily see last year.

"You have somebody that understands how to build an offense like that, I think that that's going to help immensely," Simmons added.

But don't discredit Moore's emphasis on the run game, too.

Even if the Bolts air it out more in 2023, Moore said in his introductory media availability that having a competent run game helps create success through the air.

Tyler Dragon, an NFL columnist at USA TODAY, said he expects to see a more balanced Chargers offense in the months ahead.

"Kellen Moore likes to establish the running game a little bit more, so that will be effective," Dragon said. "Ezekiel Elliott when he was in his prime and obviously Tony Pollard, the Cowboys liked to run the ball, and then the Cowboys incorporated a lot of read option. I do think that Justin Herbert would be good in those type of plays, because … [Herbert] has some mobility, and that was under-utilized.

"I know a lot of people talk about getting speed at the receiver position," Dragon later added. "I'm of the mindset if I was an offensive coordinator where I was the coach, I would try to establish the run a little bit more because that opens up the passing game deep down the field. You do a play-action pass and safeties have to play up a little bit more and then that will open up the pass game for those big, explosive plays."

Moore has been with the Bolts for only a few weeks, but it's clear that his arrival was well-received across the league.

And while the results of his impact won't be known until the 2023 regular-season starts, it's clear that analysts have high hopes for the Chargers offense going forward.

"Kellen Moore's offense doesn't necessarily lead the league in any areas of sort of low-hanging fruit," Monson said. "But schematic wrinkles, kind of steal offense here or there … he uses all of them to varying degrees. Whether it's pre-snap motion, whether it's quirky formations, personnel usage, all that kind of stuff, he's taking a bit here or there from all of these things.

"I think he's clearly a smart offensive mind and a smart play caller and a guy that is pretty aggressive with his offensive," Monson added. "I'm excited to see what he can get out of a quarterback like Justin Herbert, who has been fantastic."

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