Skip to main content

'It's Certainly a Huge Advantage': Chargers OC Kellen Moore Stresses Speed at Wide Receiver

Kellen Moore talks about one of the Chargers' offseason needs at his introductory press conference.

One key element on the Chargers' offseason to-do list will revolve around adding speed at the wide receiver position.

While Mike Williams and Keenan Allen make up a steady wide receiver pairing, the Chargers desperately need a vertical threat to further push the offense to its full potential.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore addressed the media Wednesday at his introductory press conference, and the subject of speed among his pass-catcher group became a topic of conversation.

“Speed is always dangerous. We certainly have seen that throughout this league," Moore said. "When you do have speed, it's certainly a huge advantage. There are certainly other ways, as well. 

"Mike and his ability to make 50-50 plays is phenomenal. You don’t see that around the league very often. What Keenan can do to separate and his route-running, putting him on routes that he’s able to make decisions, he's going to make things happen."

The Chargers entered last season with Jalen Guyton as their primary downfield threat, but after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 3, the team struggled to pickup explosive plays regularly. 

Williams became the go-to guy that Justin Herbert would target in the deep part of the field, ending the season averaging 14.2 yards per reception. But Williams also missed extended time with a high ankle sprain, giving the Chargers little to no options for downfield pass-catchers during his time sidelined.

"We want to be able to utilize a lot of personnel, utilize every man on that active roster, find a role for them, allow them to make a difference on our offense each and every week," Moore said. "Use the pre snap to our advantage — the shifts, the motions, all the different things that you can do to present challenges for a defense. Then, we’ll utilize tempo and all of those different things."

As the Chargers were forced to rely on underneath patterns to move the offense for most of last season, it required long, methodical drives to finish with touchdowns. By onboarding Moore to call the offense, the Chargers are hoping he can scheme up opportunities that allow Herbert to flash his arm strength on throws in the deep part of the field.

Since Moore became the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2019, they've had the seventh-highest average depth of target in the NFL (8.3 yards). Meanwhile, the Chargers, with Herbert's well-documented arm talent, finished among the lowest in average depth of target.

As Moore outlined the vision for the offensive system he runs, he spoke with an importance of having speed, but added that having a variety of players with different skill types is most desirable to him.

"Speed, you can’t coach it. Speed is very special," he said. "Certainly, you want some of that. Every guy doesn’t need it, there are plenty of ways to play in football, but certainly, when you do have it, it’s a nice little advantage to be able to utilize.”

For the Chargers to add a speed this offseason, it's likely to come through the NFL Draft. As thing pertain to free agency, they sit over the salary cap figure by $20.3 million, according to OTC's current calculations, meaning they'll need to cut contracts off the books to become cap compliment.

In holding the No. 22 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, prospects such as Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Boston College's Zay Flowers and Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt could be on the board for the Chargers' taking.

Read more from Charger Report:

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