The Las Vegas Raiders play the Los Angeles Chargers for a Week 9 matchup on Sunday, November 8.
It will mark the first time that Raiders Coach Jon Gruden’s team plays against rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
Gruden already has high praise for Herbert.
“This guy’s the real deal. He is a problem for everybody in the AFC. He’s further along than most rookies. He has shown the ability to throw the ball in the tight windows. He’s made athletic plays and shown great toughness.”
The Raiders come into the game with a 4-3 record and remain the only NFL team who has beaten Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
On the other hand, the Chargers are 2-5 but certainly not to be taken lightly.
— ⚡️ChargersLegion⚡️ (@ChargersLegion) November 3, 2020
Herbert is a rookie quarterback who was expected to sit on the bench this year and learn from starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Because of Taylor’s medical emergency prior to the Chargers Week 2 game, Herbert was thrust into the spotlight with very little notice.
In fact, he found out that he was making his NFL debut during the Chargers pregame warmups against the Kansas City Chiefs.
And the Chargers almost pulled off the upset, losing to the Chiefs by the score of 23-20.
While Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn pledged that Taylor would be the starter when he was healthy, that was not to be.
In his 6 games, Herbert has thrown an astounding 15 TDs and only 5 INTs.
This throw from Justin Herbert is absolute wizardry 🔮 @Chargers
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 4, 2020
He has completed 153 passes for 1,820 yards.
The Oregon Duck and Offensive MVP of the 2020 Rose Bowl has proven that he is ready, willing, and able to be a starting quarterback.
“He’s hit a lot of deep balls throughout his course of time he’s been in there. He’s come in early in the season and, really, he’s been acting like he’s a veteran player. So, he can make all the throws, he can move around the pocket and cause some issues with his legs, and I think he’s playing at a really good, high level. He’s got a lot of good guys around him to get the ball to, as well.”
The Raiders have struggled on defense in 2020 so Guenther has reason to be concerned about Herbert.
Pass rushing is a weakness so Herbert could have time to run or pick apart the secondary.
As of Week 6, the Raiders defense ranked 27th out of the 32 NFL teams.
This is the first of two 2020 games between the Raiders and Chargers.
The second one is in Week 15 on Thursday night, December 17.
This game with the Chargers is the beginning of a critical three-week stretch where the fate of the Raiders season may hang in the balance.
And they will see some of the most exciting and emerging young quarterbacks during this time.
In addition to Herbert, the Raiders will face Drew Lock in Denver, and enjoy a rematch with Mahomes and Kansas City in Weeks 9, 10, and 11 respectively.