Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert takes the brunt of some recent NFL news.
Wednesday afternoon, the NFL announced part of its ever-changing plan for the upcoming season. After already canceling the annual Hall of Fame Game, the league stated it would be condensing the preseason to two weeks. Out of all players, this news affects rookies the most — and the Chargers have an important one in quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Oregon product came to the Chargers as a kid who, in all likelihood, would sit for a little while during his rookie season. As the number six overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chargers made it clear Herbert was the future of their franchise.
But, the immediate question following the draft was this: Does he have a chance to start as a rookie?
If we’re being realistic, then sure, Herbert had a chance to surprise coaches and start. It might not be the organization’s plan, but it could happen. After all, crazier things have transpired. Just ask Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn.
In the end, it was going to be Tyrod Taylor who stepped out on that field in Week 1, though. That’s what most folks would have guessed, even immediately following the draft and all of the hype surrounding the Herbert pick. Taylor was, and still is, the bridge.
Herbert already had offseason workouts and rookie minicamp taken away from him. Now, he has two preseason games knocked off his calendar, which could have equaled a solid three or four quarters of play.
Instead, he’ll get two games to get his feet wet before being locked in as the Chargers’ backup in 2020. Herbert will have little time to get acclimated to the pace of the NFL in just two short preseason games.
At this point, unless Taylor gets injured, it would make sense for the Chargers to keep Herbert out all of 2020 while he continues to take practice reps and learn from the bench. Rushing his development after a virtual offseason program and hardly a preseason seems to be in everyone’s worst interest right now.
The best thing that could happen for Herbert is to sit back, learn and take notes as a rookie, all while Taylor stays healthy and keeps the Chargers competitive. Next year, the training wheels come off and Herbert will likely be given the keys to the car. For now, his rookie campaign is about being the best student and teammate he can possibly be.