Boring quotes, bad haircuts and stellar football — Assessing Justin Herbert’s rookie season with Chargers

Boring quotes, bad haircuts and stellar football -- Assessing Justin Herbert's rookie season with Chargers

COSTA MESA, Calif. — What’s it concerning the magic Justin Herbert has created that has captured the eye of Los Angeles Chargers followers?

It is definitely not his interviews.

“We have got to be taught from this one and transfer on,” he has mentioned after nearly each loss this season, regardless of how gut-wrenching.

And it isn’t the variety of victories he is delivered — the Chargers have 4 and he has three (Tyrod Taylor had the opposite one within the season opener on the Cincinnati Bengals earlier than his lung was punctured) — all coming towards among the worst groups within the league.

And it is positively not his hair, which he entrusted his energy coach to chop to questionable outcomes, though it’s evolving.

The widow’s peak does add one thing and the successful smile we noticed Sunday positively helps.

However he is bought the “it” issue, no matter “it” is — and it figures to get even greater subsequent season. We’re not speaking a few 20-pound halibut, which he’s keen on catching and did so simply after being drafted by the Chargers.

However earlier than “it” grows subsequent season, Herbert will get an opportunity to etch his title within the document books within the remaining three video games of 2020, beginning Thursday when the Chargers (4-9) play the Las Vegas Raiders (7-6) at Allegiant Stadium (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Community).

Here is one clarification of “it”: Herbert is analytical and sensible — he gained the tutorial Heisman at Oregon with a 4.01 grade-point common — and he has arm expertise. It is a fantastic mixture for anybody, particularly a rookie quarterback with seemingly limitless potential. His teammates say it is gorgeous to observe him develop each week.

“He sort of exploded on the scene, simply the best way he dealt with the huddle,” Chargers tight finish Hunter Henry mentioned. “The management in a quiet manner is superior. It is thrilling to see him sort of blossom into what he’ll be.”

Rookie phenoms have come and gone, sort of like a nasty haircut. However the Chargers do not see Herbert going the best way of his viral hairdo.

Within the 12 video games Herbert has began, he has accomplished 66.2% of his passes, going 331-of-499 for 3,467 yards and 25 landing passes. Herbert finds himself a mere two landing passes behind Baker Mayfield’s rookie document of 27, which he set in 2018 with the Cleveland Browns.

Herbert has already set rookie marks for many consecutive video games with a number of landing passes (7) and most video games with three or extra landing passes (5). He wants yet one more 300-yard passing recreation to set the rookie document for many in a season — he at present has six, which is tied with Andrew Luck’s 2012 output with the Indianapolis Colts.

Let’s examine Herbert’s rookie stats by way of 12 video games to full-season rookie stats of others:

  • Mayfield accomplished 63.8% of his passes for 3,725 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in 2018. Herbert ought to go this by the top of the season, maybe as early as Thursday.

  • Cam Newton accomplished 60% of his passes for 4,051 yards and 21 passing touchdowns whereas dashing for 706 yards and 14 TDs for the Carolina Panthers in 2011. Herbert has a mixed 28 touchdowns (25 passing, three dashing).

  • Russell Wilson accomplished 64.1% of his passes over 16 begins for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, throwing for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns whereas working for 4 touchdowns and 489 yards. Herbert has 185 yards dashing to this point this season.

  • Dak Prescott had 16 begins for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, finishing 67.8% of his passes for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns whereas including 282 yards and 6 touchdowns on the bottom.

  • Ben Roethlisberger accomplished 66.4% of his passes for two,621 yards and 17 touchdowns whereas including one dashing rating in 13 begins with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004.

  • Dan Fouts got here to the Chargers from Oregon, very similar to Herbert, in 1973. In his rookie 12 months with the San Diego Chargers, the eventual Corridor of Famer performed in 10 video games, beginning six, and accomplished 44.8% of his passes (87-of-194) for 1,126 yards, together with six passing touchdowns. He ended up turning into a Chargers legend.

  • In 2002, one other Oregon Geese legend, Joey Harrington (who Herbert adopted religiously as a toddler in Eugene, Oregon), began 12 of 14 video games with the Detroit Lions and accomplished 50% his passes, going 215-of-429 for two,294 yards and 12 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

  • Whereas one other Chargers nice, Philip Rivers, did not begin as a rookie in 2004, he did develop into the Chargers’ beginning quarterback in 2006, a title he’d maintain till leaving for the Colts this previous offseason. He began all 16 video games that season (and one within the playoffs), finishing 61.7% of his throws (284-of-460) for 3,388 yards and 22 touchdowns with 9 interceptions.

Herbert belongs on this group, to make certain. And he may surpass every of those gamers in a number of totally different classes within the ending stretch towards the Raiders, Denver Broncos and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs.

“It is large, [Herbert] calling the offense,” working again Austin Ekeler mentioned. “Being the chief and getting us in place so we could be profitable. He is making performs together with his legs, his toes, he is placing the sport collectively and we’re scoring the factors.”

Herbert has already been named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month in October and November. He may add to that listing in December. Most are predicting he can be named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. Not that information imply something to Herbert.

“I might somewhat win the subsequent three video games,” he mentioned matter-of-factly.

After all, he did.

And towards the Atlanta Falcons this previous Sunday, he completed one other first: main his group on a game-winning drive late within the fourth quarter.

Herbert began on his personal 26 with 30 seconds left with the sport tied 17-17 and accomplished a key 15-yard go to Henry on third down to maneuver the ball close to midfield. Then he discovered large receiver Tyron Johnson on a 25-yard throw to the Falcons’ 26 with 10 seconds left, resulting in Michael Badgley’s 43-yard, game-winning subject purpose.

“I am certain it may do loads for him,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn mentioned of Herbert’s drive. “For him to go down the sphere … to face in that pocket and throw the ball down the sphere the best way he did. I am certain it may go a great distance for his confidence.”

His confidence may have been shot a number of occasions, because the Chargers have misplaced seven one-score video games since Herbert took over as starter, together with a dispiriting 45-Zero shutout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 13. But it surely hasn’t occurred.

“Expertise is the most effective instructor,” Herbert mentioned.

And now he has a few of that.

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