by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
COSTA MESA, CA — On Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn made a strong announcement regarding the season for the team. Lynn told reporters that quarterback Justin Herbert will be the starter for the rest of the season.
“Justin Herbert, that young man has impressed from the very beginning,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “I think he’s shown a consistency that you look for in a rookie quarterback. He’s made some pretty nice throws and made some hell of plays. I think he’s going to get better and I know the wins are coming. Justin will start on Monday night in New Orleans and Justin will be our starter quarterback.”
Herbert started just moments before the kickoff of the Chargers home opener at SoFi Stadium in week two against the Kansas City Chiefs, due to an injury that Tyrod Taylor suffered just moments before the game. Taylor complained of pain in his chest due to broken ribs, and received an injection from one of the team doctors. The shot that was administered ended up puncturing Taylor’s lung and he was rushed to the hospital.
In the last three games Herbert started he threw for 931 passing yards, five total touchdowns and completed 72% of his passes. Though the three games he started in resulted in losses yet it wasn’t because of a lack of effort, just the growing pains of rookie life in the NFL.
Of course Herbert said a few times in post game pressers that there were throws he wished he took back, but each week he took another step forward which is a credit to not only his work ethic and attention to detail, but his willingness to learn and develop a bond with quarterback coach Pep Hamilton. Hamilton was brought on the staff this season, and has excelled above and beyond expectation. One of the smartest football minds in the coaches room and a God-sent for Herbert as he made his transition form the college football ranks to the NFL.
“I know Pep as a man and as a football coach, and so he’s connected with Justin and that’s a great relationship right there,” Lynn explained. “At the same time Shane Steichen, myself, Pep we all get together and we try to do the things this young man does best. As long as we are all on the same page and he’s got that mentorship he needs from Pep, I feel real good about that (quarterback) position.”
The 6-foot-6, 236 pound quarterback has a strong arm, and has the ability to make defenses miss in the pocket along with being athletic. One of the most impressive attributes about Herbert is his poise, and high football IQ each week that is on display.
It’s one thing to physically prepare for the tall task of leading an NFL franchise on the field every week, but the mental grind has to also be on point in order to reach a certain level of success on Sundays.
“He’s locked in, obviously this off season was different from the aspect of it being virtually and not being hands on as much,” Chargers tight end Hunter Henry said. “It took him a little bit offensively…. schematics wise to pick everything up, but after that he’s been locked in and his mentally preparation has been awesome.“
Herbert has faced two top notch quarterbacks thus far in Patrick Mahomes and engaged in a shootout against Tom Brady. On Monday he’ll go up against another top vet quarterback in Drew Brees. Herbert hasn’t flinched and doesn’t come into the games shook, yet full of confidence and has his sights on getting his first NFL win as a starter.
“From a preparation standpoint and the way he prepares every week, I think that has propelled him to where he’s at right now,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “We’ve got to continue with him to keep preparing every week like he’s doing so we can continue to progress and make more plays.“
Lynn expressed that it would’ve been ideal to have Taylor starting, therefore Herbert could watch and develop, yet there is no denying this young quarterback’s skills, that will continue to improve. A jolt in the arm that the offense needed and teammates have welcomed and embraced Herbert in order to keep his confidence level high as California sales tax.
Herbert has received the respect and attention from players and coaches around the league including Saints head coach Sean Peyton.
“Obviously, he’s got very, very good arm talent. But, his poise. You know, we got zero blitz last week, he throws a long touchdown, he hits a big plays, he’s got very good awareness, relative to his protections. So, there’s a confidence about him at a young age. That’s, that’s very impressive.”
Herbert and the Chargers head to the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome on Monday Night Football against the Saints at 5:20PM PT.