LA Chargers: It’s time to embrace the Justin Herbert era

LA Chargers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Chargers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft has been nothing short of impressive since being forced into game action.

Justin Herbert has put a charge into LA’s offense.

Sure, the win column hasn’t exactly been generous to the Chargers over the last three weeks, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more productive member of LA’s offense during that stretch.

The former Oregon Duck has 931 passing yards and five touchdowns against three interceptions in three starts so far. Those numbers have amounted to a solid 102.2 passer rating.

That’s right, the same Justin Herbert who many analysts believed was not quite pro-ready ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft has now battled it out with counterparts Patrick Mahomes, Teddy Bridgewater and Tom Brady respectively since being promoted as the starter in the wake of Tyrod Taylor‘s injury.

And when we say “battled it out”, he really has.

Since Herbert took over the starting quarterback job, the Chargers have found themselves in every game until the final whistle. In fact, none of Herbert’s three starts have been lost by more than a touchdown (23-20 vs KC, 21-16 vs CAR and 38-31 vs TB), speaking to his ability to rise above his rookie status, and playing more like a polished veteran.

Rookie quarterbacks will make their fair share of questionable decisions, as is typical of signal callers attempting to establish themselves in the NFL. Herbert has thrown three interceptions to this point, but has otherwise been in control of the games he has started.

Not to mention, Herbert has exceptional arm strength.

Arm strength can only do so much if the quarterback isn’t accurate. But that hasn’t been the case with Herbert, who combines his rocket arm with pinpoint accuracy (72 percent completion percentage over three games).

A 72 percent completion percentage is Drew Brees-like. That’s high praise given Brees’ status as the most accurate passer in NFL history. We won’t anoint Herbert as that quite yet, though.

Nevertheless, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft has lit it up on the field since being forced into game action, even doing things that none of his peers have done in this season.

If not for Tyrod Taylor’s punctured lung, we’re probably not writing this article, gushing about the early career successes of Justin Herbert.

This is not to say Taylor’s freak mishap was a blessing in disguise, but it’s hard to argue with the production that the sixth overall pick has given the team early on.

Tyrod Taylor is a capable starting quarterback, but with the general stability he provides also comes a low ceiling. With Justin Herbert, the team’s ceiling can rise exponentially due to his sheer talent.

That has to be appealing even to Coach Anthony Lynn, who has remained committed to Taylor despite Herbert’s success.

It’s not every day that a rookie quarterback can match scores with six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, and on the road no less. Nor is it every day that one throws two 50+ yard touchdown passes in one game.

It’s time to embrace the Justin Herbert era in Los Angeles.