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With kickoff a minute away Sunday in Los Angeles, Chargers rookie Justin Herbert used to be a backup with no expectation of taking half in time. Ten seconds sooner than kickoff, he used to be a initiating NFL quarterback going by the Neat Bowl champion. Now, with Adam Schefter‘s myth that incumbent Tyrod Taylor has a punctured lung after a atrocious injection, Herbert is the starter indefinitely.
The Chargers’ sudden game-time QB swap to the rookie first-round buy because of Taylor’s mysterious chest hurt shy viewers, and so did Herbert’s efficiency, as he captained an offense that took a 17-9 lead into the fourth quarter sooner than shedding 23-20 in extra time. Herbert used to be 22-of-33 for 311 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He sealed his first NFL force with a dashing touchdown.
Despite the spectacular debut, Herbert used to be going support to the bench if Taylor used to be “100 p.c wholesome,” head coach Anthony Lynn acknowledged. On Monday, when Bleacher Describe requested Lynn at some level of his media availability to give an explanation for his decision to stick to Taylor, the high coach doubled down on his refusal to anoint Herbert. It went previous loyalty to Taylor, whom he coached in Buffalo.
“I believed [Justin] came in and gave us a chance to buy,” he acknowledged over the Zoom call. “However there is lots you do not know, and there is lots we didn’t rep performed with Justin on the sphere the previous day. He is a backup for a reason. He is a rookie, and there is lots he desires to study this game. …
“If Tyrod cannot race and now we want to race along with Justin, I am perfectly thunder with that. I do know we can purchase with either quarterback, nevertheless the primitive quarterback straight away provides us one of the best possible chance to buy.
“And it’s no longer love we won the damn game the previous day. We misplaced, last time I checked.”
Lynn acknowledged his 22-year-frail quarterback used to be “a backup for a reason,” nevertheless what produce experts around the league concentrate on of Herbert?
“After Sunday’s game, I could perhaps somewhat play [against] Tyrod,” acknowledged a excessive-stage provide whose crew performs the Chargers this season. “Tyrod’s expertise should level-headed subject, nevertheless Herbert wasn’t fazed when he used to be thrown into the fire on short peek. Taylor has by no manner had the ‘it’ ingredient that franchise quarterbacks bask in, and Herbert has a seriously better touch on the ball too.”
Two NFL assistant coaches agreed that Herbert’s debut showed his intelligence and that he had ready extremely effectively with out getting many first-crew reps in follow. One acknowledged he’d be inclined to pass forward with the rookie as the starter nevertheless also illustrious that being called into motion as soon as is lots of diversified than being the man for a season.
“I seen the identical sizable arm and spurious athletic skill on Sunday that I did in college,” acknowledged a primitive NFL scout who evaluated Herbert closely at some level of his profession at Oregon.
In Week 2, Herbert clearly outplayed the Week 1 Taylor within the primitive’s first Chargers delivery, which came in opposition to a primitive Bengals protection. Taylor, one of many league’s most conservative quarterbacks, used to be 16-of-30 for 208 yards and no touchdowns. L.A.’s protection puts the Chargers in a real do to buy games, and they also escaped with a 16-13 victory.
In opposition to Kansas Metropolis, the 6’6″ Herbert showed his physicality and athleticism when he shouldered a sizable hit from Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson so with out inform that it used to be Wilson who took a cultured bounce off the 236-pounder. Herbert like a flash stood up after the contact, whereas the linebacker stayed down in famous worse form.
The No. 6 total buy also showed touch within the veil game that versatile L.A. running support Austin Ekeler acknowledged he appreciated. Ekeler had good one buy for three yards in Week 1 and four for 55 yards in Week 2.
“With Philip [Rivers] long gone, I do know he checked the ball down to me lots,” acknowledged Ekeler, who had 92 catches for 993 yards last season. “And the first game I handiest had one buy, so it used to be good to rep about a more in my hands there.”
When Bleacher Describe requested Ekeler in a media call sooner than Wednesday’s files if he thought Herbert exceeded expectations, he smiled nevertheless used to be hesitant to bathe too famous reward and possibility igniting a fat-on quarterback controversy.
“That is a onerous seek files from,” he acknowledged. “As an expert I’d query a in actuality excessive stage of play from him. However also you give a dinky leeway to a rookie, especially a rookie in their first game. However he’s also a first-round buy, so there is moderately lots of pull in both directions. So I concentrate on there in all equity lots of grey living.
“I am entirely contented he had some success. He definitely had things to work on, nevertheless I am entirely contented he had moments the do he showed, ‘Hey, I could perhaps very effectively be gargantuan.’ I produce no longer know if I’m able to claim that he exceeded or underplayed, nevertheless I concentrate on he do one thing on tape now that he can fabricate on.”
Peter Joneleit/Linked Press
Ahead of it grew to change into evident Herbert would delivery Week 3, Ekeler acknowledged he used to be joyful with either quarterback, and straight away “Tyrod is level-headed within the helm.” However he left the door delivery somewhat wider for Herbert than his head coach had.
“I level-headed concentrate on [Tyrod] could perhaps very effectively be on the initiating characteristic, nevertheless going forward he’s going to hope to level to good love every of us, ‘Hey, I deserve to be in this field,'” the second-year starter. “There are always other folks on the support of or in front of you seeking to hold on to a job.”
For Taylor, Sunday afternoon potentially felt love deja vu. He misplaced his initiating characteristic in Cleveland in 2018 when he suffered a concussion in Week 3 and rookie Baker Mayfield led them to a buy—the Browns‘ first victory since 2016. Taylor by no manner purchased his job support.
Starting Herbert this early within the season used to be no longer phase of Lynn’s thought. He is publicly supported Taylor as his starter since Rivers left in free agency in March, even after the organization drafted Herbert and even after Herbert’s solid debut.
“I produce no longer concentrate on there is anything else imperfect with a rookie quarterback coming in and sitting his first year in its do of throwing him into the fire and letting him study on the race,” Lynn acknowledged earlier this week. “I do know John Elway and Peyton Manning did that, and they also took moderately lots of abuse, nevertheless those guys had been solid-minded. They overcame it, and they also’re Hall of Famers. No longer every quarterback can produce that. I am no longer asserting Justin cannot, and if now we want to race along with Justin, that is precisely what we are going to provide.”
Kyusung Gong/Linked Press
Opinions fluctuate around the league on what one of the best possible strategy is for bringing along a rookie quarterback, nevertheless for now, Lynn’s hand has been compelled.
“It all is relying on the high coach,” acknowledged an NFL assistant coach. “There is no staunch or imperfect manner to provide it.”
“For my half, I’d no longer sit down a first-rounder,” acknowledged the excessive-stage provide with a Chargers opponent.
There is no should walk Taylor support now that Lynn is aware of the rookie backup is more than succesful.
Lynn used to be deliberate in pointing out Monday that Herbert did no longer buy his first delivery, and as any other scout pointed out, it’s refined to hang Herbert moderately until he’s the known starter and defenses can game-thought for him.
Herbert’s delivery caught all americans—along side the Chiefs protection—off guard. Now that the Panthers bask in tape on Herbert, his second delivery could be a sizable indicator of his doable and could perhaps resolve whether Lynn remains steady to Taylor as soon as he returns to fat effectively being.
Peaceable, there is one thing to be acknowledged for taking Patrick Mahomes and one of the best possible crew within the league to extra time with good 10 seconds’ peek he’d even be taking half in, and then shedding on a 58-yard field just after Lynn selected to punt to the Chiefs in its do of going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Chargers 34.
“I bask in a salty type in my mouth from last year the do it looked love every flipping game used to be a one-ranking game,” Ekeler acknowledged. “We bask in got to salvage a manner to rep over that. We don’t desire to race too some distance down the rabbit hole because it’s onerous to rep out.”
Herbert now has any other chance to play love an expert starter in its do of “a backup for a reason” and invent a case that he can aid the Chargers from crawling down that acquainted rabbit hole.
Kalyn Kahler covers the NFL for Bleacher Describe. Follow her on Twitter for NFL musings and ordinary quarantine thoughts: @KalynKahler.