Former Los Angeles Chargers Player Takes Shot At Justin Herbert, Praises Jim Harbaugh

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has a lot of fans in and around the NFL. From analysts who break down his film and rave about his skills to the new Chargers coaching staff, he’s well-regarded around the game. However, one of his former teammates sees a glaring issue in the quarterback’s game.

Chris Harris Jr., a three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, played for the Los Angeles Chargers for two seasons (2020-’21). During that time, he had the opportunity to watch Herbert closely and see his development from a young quarterback into becoming one of the highest-paid NFL players. While he has a lot of respect for Herbert’s talent, he does see one glaring weakness that has existed for years.

Related: Insider thinks Jim Harbaugh will make huge changes to Los Angeles Chargers

Asked by Kay Adams on “Up & Adams” about what Herbert needs to work on, Harris Jr. made it very clear he believes the Chargers’ quarterback lacks the “clutch factor” in his career.

“That clutch factor. He’s missing that clutch factor. Like a Mahomes. I’m not saying he hasn’t made clutch throws, because he has, he’s made clutch plays. But it’s that fourth-quarter dominance, tha you can see from a Brady, that you can see from Mahomes, or Big Ben.”

Chris Harris Jr. on what Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert lacks

Justin Herbert stats in ‘clutch’ situations

  • 4th Quarter: 90.5 QB rating, 32-17 TD-INT, 65% completion rate, 6.9 yards per attempt
  • When Trailing: 95.4 QB rating, 57-24 TD-INT, 66.5% completion rate, 7.2 yards per attempt
  • Third Down: 94.6 QB rating, 42-18 TD-INT, 61.5% completion rate, 7.4 yards per attempt
  • Fourth Down: 115.4 QB rating, 10-1 TD-INT, 57.8% completion rate, 10.1 yards per attempt

Plenty of the statistics don’t support Harris’ claim that Herbert lacks the ‘clutch factor’ but there is one scenario supporting his case. When the Chargers trailed with under 2 minutes to go, Herbert had just a 70.6 QB rating with a 6-5 TD-INT ratio and a 54.2 percent completion rate. In that same type of situation, however, Mahomes’ career QB rating is 63.3 with a 4-4 TD-INT ratio and a 48.1% completion rate.

Related: Justin Herbert lands very high in PFF NFL QB rankings

While the former Chargers’ cornerback doesn’t believe Herbert has proven that clutch ability right now, he does feel pretty confident that head coach Jim Harbaugh will unlock that in Herbert’s game.

“It’s going to take a well-experienced coach to bring that out of him. That’s why I think Harbaugh’s gonna be a great fit for him. A guy that’s won in the league and also won at college. Just a winning atmosphere guy.”

Chris Harris Jr. on Jim Harbaugh being able to help improve Justin Herbert’s clutch factor

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It’s also worth noting that Harris didn’t put all the Chargers’ issues on Harbaugh. He believes the franchise put far too much on the young quarterback’s shoulders including defenses that weren’t good enough to support him.

Those units include the 2020 Chargers’ defense – 26.6 PPG allowed (23rd in NFL – and the 2021 defense – 27 PPG (29th in NFL) – which Harris was a part of. So, while his opinion of Herbert lacking the clutch factor is just that, he was at least fair in admitting the very defense he played on wasn’t good.

Related: Jim Harbaugh already made massive culture changes for Los Angeles Chargers