The Most Exciting And Important Position Battle
Now that the NFL draft is finished, the majority of the teams in the NFL know what they have to work with during the offseason activities and eventually when the season starts. The Los Angeles Chargers have some cap space remaining but are not really in the running for any of the major free agents remaining and will likely be going into the season with the current roster.
When looking at the roster, there is a lot of talent and depth across the board, but for the most part, the majority of the starters are penciled in due to being last year’s starter and just overall being more talented. There is some debate amongst specific offensive line positions but the most crucial and important position battle which will define the Chargers season is the one at quarterback between Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert.
For the first time in over 15 years, there is a question mark as to who will start for the Chargers behind center this season. While the likely choice might be Tyrod Taylor at this point, that decision is far from set in stone and there is a very good chance Herbert can unseat him as the QB1. It is without a doubt the most important position battle on the team this offseason as it is the most important position arguably in sports, and if Justin Herbert proves himself a viable starter in his rookie season, it is likely that he has earned the trust to be the QB of the future.
As good as Tyrod Taylor has been, he hasn’t been a starter in quite some time and the last time he was on the field he underwhelmed. That being said, having Taylor start can also allow Justin Herbert to learn from a seasoned pro who has great leadership qualities, however, if his talent is that much greater than Taylor’s, there is no doubt that he will have every opportunity to start.
The coaching staff has given no indication of any defined roles for this position. In fact, in the post 1st round interview, Head Coach Anthony Lynn stated, “We got our future quarterback, or maybe our present quarterback we’ll see…” In handling this situation, the Chargers staff can look no further than just a few years ago when the exact same scenario occurred with the exact same veteran quarterback for the Cleveland Browns when it involved Baker Mayfield. Hue Jackson did not handle the situation great; he adamantly declared Taylor the starter early on and that nothing would change his mind. He even showed disdain towards the media when they inevitably asked questions about the starting quarterback position.
“We got our future quarterback, or maybe our present quarterback we’ll see…”
While Taylor may have been the right option at the time, it is crucial to properly handle how the coach addresses it to keep the locker room on one page and unified.
In addition, the Chargers are moving into the new massive SoFi stadium. It is no secret the team aggressively pursued veteran QB Tom Brady before he signed with the Buccaneers. Besides his ability on the field, a major reason as to why the Chargers pursued him is his ability to sell tickets and get people to fill up the seats. Having had trouble filling up the small soccer field they were using, Tom Brady would have definitely helped.
While Justin Herbert may be more enticing to fans due to the unknown as well as his immense potential over Tyrod Taylor who has shown throughout his career to be a very average quarterback, it is crucial they do not let that factor into this position battle as it could end up crashing and burning and stalling the Chargers long term plans.
One of the biggest reasons why it will be more difficult for Herbert, or any rookie QB, minus Joe Burrow, to start this season, is due to the virtual nature that the offseason is likely to proceed with. Leadership is an absolutely necessary tangible in a quarterback and it is really hard to develop that locker room presence and properly learn the team presence when everything is happening over Zoom Calls.
It must be mentioned that second-year QB Easton Stick is also on the roster, and has received praise from the coaching staff. Stick was selected by the Chargers in the 5th round last year after going 49-3 with North Dakota State and winning four FCS Championships. Tom Telesco and Anthony Lynn loved his winning pedigree, and that’s why he was drafted. Does he have a real shot at competing with Taylor and Herbert for the starting role? Probably not, but he is a huge competitor and is athletic enough to carve out a role in the offense similar to Taysom Hill with Saints, or what Philly expects to do with Jalen Hurts.
It is clear that beyond this year, Herbert will be the eventual starter as Taylor is in the last year of his contract, however, this year will be huge in regards to how the future of the Charger rolls out and the position battle for Quarterback is the most crucial. If you ask me, Herbert will end up starting at some point this season.