The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a dreadful performance and former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore would like to deliver some payback.
Moore now runs the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense after having the keys to the Dallas attack the previous four seasons. He’ll look to keep the scoreboard busy when the Chargers (2-2) host the Cowboys (3-2) on the Monday Night Football stage at Inglewood, Calif.
Moore was pushed out the door by Dallas coach Mike McCarthy after last season. There was a falloff in 2022 after Moore’s offense produced NFL-best figures of 31.2 points and 407 yards per game in 2021.
The revenge matchup comes after Dallas was walloped 42-10 by the host San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night. The Cowboys allowed a total of 41 points over their first four games before they had no answers against the 49ers.
“I’m pretty sure (Moore) wants to go out there and put it on us, but you’ve got to put on some perspective for what we just went through on Sunday and how we’re champing at the bit to get out there and get out next game, on the road, so we can kind of just get this taste out of our mouths,” Dallas safety Jayron Kearse said.
“We just went out there (against the 49ers) and had an all-time stinker for what this defense is about, and we’re ready to go out there and play against somebody as well. So I’m pretty sure he’s ready for it and we’re ready for it as well.”
There certainly won’t be any secrets after Kearse, star linebacker Micah Parsons and other Dallas defenders regularly practiced against Moore’s offense.
“It’s not uncommon in the league to have matchups where both sides know each other a little bit,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.
McCarthy now calls the offensive plays for Dallas, and the club had a problematic night against San Francisco. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw three interceptions as the Cowboys totaled just 197 yards on offense and eight first downs.
“Continuity and consistency is obviously what we’re focused on,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “No. 1, you have to score points in this league.”
Dallas ranks eighth in scoring (26.8 points per game), just behind the Chargers (27.5). Los Angeles is fifth in total offense (388.8 yards per game) and the Cowboys are 17th (327.4).
The Chargers, who had a bye in Week 5, will get a boost Monday when standout running back Austin Ekeler returns after a three-game absence due to a sprained right ankle. Ekeler was hurt in Week 1 when he racked up 164 scrimmage yards (117 rushing, 47 receiving) in a 36-34 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
“I feel really good,” said Ekeler, who was a full practice participant on Thursday. “I felt like I probably could’ve played during the bye week if I had a game then.”
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert practiced Thursday and will play with a fractured left middle finger, an injury that occurred in a 24-17 home victory over the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 1. He has passed for 1,106 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
Los Angeles also will have star safety Derwin James Jr. (hamstring) after he was sidelined against the Raiders. He practiced in full on Thursday.
Pass rusher Joey Bosa (hamstring/toe) sat out practice Thursday. He missed the game against the Raiders. Safety Alohi Gilman (heel) also sat out practice, while tight end Donald Parham Jr. (wrist) and cornerback Deane Leonard (hamstring) were limited.
Dallas outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) will be placed on injured reserve sometime before Monday’s game, McCarthy said. In addition, special teams ace C.J. Goodwin (pectoral) told reporters that he will be sidelined for four to six weeks. Both players were hurt against San Francisco.
Also missing Thursday’s practice were receiver/returner KaVontae Turpin (ankle) and safety Juanyeh Thomas (hamstring). Standout running back Tony Pollard (shoulder) was limited.
–Field Level Media