He is tall, strong, cerebral, humble, and has a cannon for an arm.
What was most impressive were his guts that he showed all season; his first start in the NFL is one of the toughest experiences any rookie quarterback could go through.
Minutes before playing the defending champs, 22-year-old rookie Justin Herbert was told that he would be starting.
He initially thought it was a joke, but before he knew it, he was trotting out onto the field as a starting NFL quarterback.
Even though he was the 6th overall pick, there was not a whole lot expected from him; most of the media, including myself, thought that Tyrod Taylor would be the starter for nearly the entire season.
I expected a sloppy performance that no one would fault him for because he had to play on a minute’s notice against the best team in the league.
I could not have been more wrong.
Herbert led an explosive first drive which ended with an electric rushing touchdown by Herbert himself.
Yes, he made rookie mistakes, those happen, but he flashed all-pro potential all afternoon en route to a close overtime loss to Kansas City.
The most total touchdowns by a rookie QB ever.
Here's every single one from the Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/F8I7rErkV6
— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2021
Ability under Pressure
Most TDs under pressure among rookies this season:
🥇 Justin Herbert – 13
🥈 Joe Burrow – 3
🥉 Jalen Hurts – 2
Everyone else – 0 pic.twitter.com/dsmVwsXZbZ
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 13, 2021
The Chargers did provide good weapons in the passing game, even though they were not always healthy, but he had absolutely zero help from his offensive line or from his running game.
According to PFF, The Chargers were the worst run-blocking team in the entire league while their pass protecting was good for 30th in the NFL.
The Chargers have good players on the line but they were banged up all year and without continuity, you are not going to build a solid offensive line.
If they can keep those guys healthy and develop their chemistry, Herbert’s life would be much easier.
Even without good line play, Herbert was able to cement himself as a good starting quarterback in this league.
Herbert led all quarterbacks in passer rating under pressure with a 99.4 rating; Matthew Stafford finished second in that category and only had a 91.8 rating.
Head Coaching Change
With the Chargers completely overhauling their coaching staff Herbert will have to learn an entirely new offense, but I believe Brandon Staley will be a much better head coach than Anthony Lynn was in these last couple of years.
He brought in Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator who has served as Drew Brees‘s quarterback coach for 10 of Brees’s 15 seasons in New Orleans.
Needless to say. Lombardi has seen and coached greatness at the quarterback position, hopefully Lombardi can bring some of that knowledge along with him to pass down to Herbert.
What may be even more important than the X’s and O’s is the fact that Staley should greatly improve the rest of the team, especially the defense, which would take so much pressure off of Herbert.
our 2021 coaching staff 🙌
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) February 11, 2021
It would be an uphill battle for Herbert to win MVP in 2021 because it would require leaps from the team on both sides of the ball, but if Staley lives up to his potential it is possible.
If the defense can help them win a few more games and the line can hold up a bit better for Herbert this season then I think he has a real chance to be the third sophomore quarterback to win MVP in the last four years.