For the second straight season, Austin Ekeler ended up being the only Los Angeles Chargers running back who managed to record at least 70 rushing attempts. Ekeler capped off the 2022 campaign with 204 carries for 915 rushing yards.
Now-former Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi made Ekeler the focal point of the team’s rush attack on a game-by-game basis. Newly appointed Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has early plans to get other players more involved in Los Angeles’ rush offense.
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During his introductory media availability on Wednesday, Moore noted that just as he did over his four-season run as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, he will look to roll out a one-two punch at the running back position for Los Angeles.
“Certainly, when you look at where the league is now, very few guys are the 20, 25 carries per game type,” Moore said. “There are only a couple left in the league, and those guys take a beating. It’s a long season. We’re playing 17-plus weeks in the season. Those guys, you need to keep them fresh so that they’re playing really, really good football in December, January, and so on.
“Certainly, from my vantage point, what Austin [Ekeler] has done has been remarkable. You saw Josh [Kelley] start to develop a role. Certainly, that’ll be a situation that, hopefully, we develop two or three guys in there that can all take turns.”
The Chargers will have Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller as options to be their true No. 2 running back for the 2023 campaign. Kelley is coming off of a 2022 season where he recorded 287 rushing yards, while Spiller only featured in six contests over his rookie year.
In the big picture, Moore is looking forward to working with the team’s running backs group.
“Obviously, the talent speaks for itself, from a premier perspective and Austin in the backfield, Josh [Kelley] coming along, the offensive line has been a huge thing that they’ve developed and done such a great job of the last couple of years,” Moore said.
The Chargers ranked at 30th in rushing yards per game in the 2022 regular season with an 89.6 average.