When the Chargers made the decision not to re-sign Philip Rivers, many fans speculated about the possible moves the team could make in free agency or the draft. Predictions of a free agent signing varied from legendary quarterback Tom Brady to Comeback Player of the Year Ryan Tannehill. The speculation didn’t stop there.
Some predicted that the bolts would stick with Tyrod Taylor as their veteran and draft a quarterback to groom behind him. Some expected the Chargers to trade up and grab Tua Tagovailoa while others expected them to wait till the second day of the draft and select a quarterback such as Jalen Hurts. Ultimately, the Chargers stayed put and selected Justin Herbert.
While he undoubtedly has uncoachable traits, such as superb arm strength, many worry that he could struggle, especially early in his career if he is rushed onto the field. With the absence of vital preseason game reps and an offseason unlike any other, it will be especially hard for Herbert to start early on. When you factor in the fact that Anthony Lynn named Tyrod Taylor the likely week one starter, the chances of Herbert starting the first week seem slim. While it will be an uphill climb to be named the week one starter, hope is not lost for Justin Herbert.
What Must Justin Herbert Do To Be The Week One Starter
It’s become clear that Herbert won’t be handed the week one starting job. That doesn’t mean that Herbert won’t have a fighters’ chance at winning the job. Simply put, he’s going to have to outperform Taylor in training camp. Even if Herbert is just as good or maybe even a little better, it’s likely that Taylor will still win the job based on the trust Lynn has in him to run his offense.
Tyrod Taylor has been known to play to the talent of his surrounding offense. He’s generally a very safe player who’s not going to win a lot of games for the team but he certainly won’t lose many either.
Herbert has to elevate the play of his teammates. The Chargers roster is on the verge of making a championship run, hence why the Chargers attempted to sign six-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady, in free agency. Tom Telesco certainly didn’t draft Herbert to sit on the bench for more than a year.
While Herbert must elevate the play of his teammates, he also has to showcase the traits that Anthony Lynn coveted when he drafted him at number 6 overall. It’s clear that the offense is headed in a new direction. If Lynn’s time as an offensive coordinator/head coach with Tyrod Taylor as his quarterback is any indication of what’s to come for this Chargers offense, it’s a safe bet that mobility will be essential for a quarterback to thrive in the system.
This shouldn’t be a problem for Herbert, as he’s shown the ability to control games with his legs. The best example of this would be in the Rose Bowl game against Wisconsin where he scored three touchdowns on the ground and secured the win for his team.
Another aspect that Herbert must showcase is his ball security. While he was able to limit his turnovers each year in college, a common knock against him was his trend of using his powerful arm to fit the ball into tight windows. While this is a great trait to have, it won’t be enough in the NFL where he’ll have to throw his receivers open with anticipation passes. Herbert’s arm can get him into some trouble if he tends to trust it too much in certain situations. He’ll have to prove that while Taylor will most likely be safer with the ball, he will be able to make the types of game-changing plays you hope your quarterback can make.
Herbert will truly have to impress the coaches in order to win the week one starting job. Some believe it should be easy for Herbert to beat out Taylor but in reality, it will likely be a challenge and that says more about Taylor’s ability to take command of the Chargers offense.
This will likely be the best offense Taylor has ever played with and it will likely be suited to play to his strengths. He can rely on his scrambling ability and won’t have to play hero ball thanks to the strength of the defense and playmakers at every level of the offense.
Herbert will have to show that he can not only go throw for throw with Taylor but also show the ability to rally the team during crucial moments. These situations will be tough to simulate without a preseason but it wouldn’t be the first time Herbert has faced adversity.