Justin Herbert has been the lone bright spot for the Los Angeles Chargers this season. The rookie quarterback has burst onto the NFL scene, torching opposing defenses the entire season. He is the frontrunner to receive the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award due to his sensational season.
Despite the stats and records, there is one aspect of Herbert’s game that is more impressive. This specific trait is something many rookie quarterbacks have to learn, but Herbet has picked it up with ease. That is what makes him a star in the making and the Chargers’ future at quarterback.
Justin Herbert’s expectations as a top 10 pick
Coming out of college, Herbert was one of the top quarterback prospects. He has the prototypical body of an NFL quarterback, and his experience in a pro-style system made him appealing to NFL coaches. However, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa attracted most of the spotlight. Burrow and Tagovailoa were better prospects than Herbert. Burrow went first overall to the Bengals and Tagovailoa went fifth overall to the Dolphins.
The Chargers selected Herbert with the sixth overall pick. The Chargers were in the market for a quarterback, as Phillip Rivers departed for Indianapolis. LA had Tyrod Taylor on the roster, who head coach Anthony Lynn favored as the starting quarterback going into training camp.
During training camp, Justin Herbert positively raised some eyebrows. He showed poise and confidence through drills, the first sign of good things to come. Players and coaches specifically noted Herbert’s deep ball. It was one of his best throws throughout camp, impressing the likes of Keenan Allen.
Even though he was lighting it up in training camp, Lynn decided to go with Taylor in Week 1. Taylor’s familiarity with the system and Herbert’s gradual development were the reasons he got the nod. However, in Week 2, Taylor suffered a punctured lung after a team doctor tried to administer a pain killer. He was unable to go, and the Justin Herbert show began.
Justin Herbert has had a historic rookie campaign
Herbert received the start in Week 2 and has not looked back. In 14 starts this season, he has thrown for over 4,000 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per ESPN. His 4,034 yards passing this season is the seventh most amongst quarterbacks. His completion percentage is also impressive at 66.3 %. Herbert joins Patrick Mahomes as the only two quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards in their first 14 starts.
The Oregon alum is already putting his name in NFL record books. He set the rookie passing touchdown record with 28, breaking Baker Mayfield’s record of 27. He has a chance to break the rookie passing yards record set by Andrew Luck in 2012. To do that, he would need to have a huge game. He trails Luck by 340 yards.
Herbert has thrown for over 300 yards in seven games this year. The rookie has also thrown a touchdown pass in all but one game this season. The poise he plays with when facing pressure or in clutch situations is worth noting. He has held his own against some of the league’s elite quarterbacks like Patricks Mahomes, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Josh Allen. His stability and maturity in the huddle as a rookie is impressive, but his chemistry with the receiving core is the most admirable part of his rookie season.
Justin Herbert’s chemistry with his receivers is very impressive
The Chargers receiving core is deep with talent this season. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have dealt with nagging injuries this season, which has forced Herbert to work with the other receivers on the roster. Jalen Guyton, Ty Johnson, and KJ Hill have all reaped the benefits of establishing chemistry with their rookie quarterback.
On LA’s roster, six receivers have at least 300 yards receiving, and seven players have at least two receiving touchdowns. Usually, a rookie quarterback favors a receiver, not getting all playmakers involved in the passing game. Herbert has avoided that rookie pitfall, spreading the wealth and making all receivers happy.
Chargers tight end Hunter Henry has vocalized how Herbert has handled being the starter and chemistry with teammates. “He kind of exploded on the scene, just the way he handled the huddle. The leadership in a quiet way is awesome. It’s exciting to see him kind of blossom into what he’s going to be,” Henry said per ESPN.
Justin Herbert’s rookie season will be one for the record books. From his questionable haircut, his chemistry with the receiving corps, to his deep ball brilliance, he has done it all for the Chargers this season. He is LA’s future at quarterback, so he will continue to strengthen his chemistry with his receivers for the future.
All stats courtesy of ESPN