The things Justin Herbert was able to accomplish as a rookie has been unprecedented. So much so that it can be argued we have all just witnessed what could possibly be the best rookie season anyone has seen from a quarterback. CHARGERS fans are foaming at the mouth thinking about the potential the future could bring. I mean does it get better than 4,291 passing yards and 30+ touchdowns?
How can the team preserve the greatness of Justin Herbert? How can they make sure they elevate and keep Herbert performing at a high level and firing on all cylinders for years too come. The Chargers organization itself has had a very rich history when it comes to quarterbacks. Yet none of them have won a ring. In fact, some would even say that in the case of Philip Rivers the team held him back or even failed him in some sense. So how can they make sure history dosnt repeat itself? If they truly want to take advantage of the new market and Hollywood Herb then they need to do right by protecting their investment. This could entail many different things that could be ever changing over the course of time.
The three most obvious ways you do this is:
1) make sure you keep a competent offensive line infront of Herbert. This is for both physical and mental reasons. You simply can’t have a quarterback of any age take too many hits and especially consistently. For a young quarterback this can be damaging to his confidence and potentially dangerous to his development. While the team has had a bad offensive line for some time now, it is a bit different with an already established quarterback. One of the ways the Chargers organization failed Rivers was by not giving him any resemblance of a line in the second half of his career. However, Rivers had already had multiple high level seasons with very successful offenses and protection around him. This is one reason why nobody was worried about Rivers confidence. With Herbert he is still very young and would likely need at least 5 seasons performing at the level we saw this year in order to have an unflappable confidence. The line he had to work with this season was unacceptable and it’s a good thing he is mobile and great under pressure, as apparent by his numbers. He finished the season with 13 passing touchdowns and 1,239 yards while under pressure. This includes 99 completions under pressure which is the first in the NFL along with the yardage mark. Him being mobile shouldn’t be considered a solution or band aid to a below average line though. This team needs to focus on offensive line very heavily this off season.
2) A lot of people pointed to Herbert’s inconsistent play while at Oregon but never considered the fact that he had 3 different coaches in his time there. Well it turns out that going into what will be his second pro season in 2021 he will have his second coach. This makes the next coaching hire all the more important for more reasons than just the obvious. The kid needs to have consistent and reliable leaders that he can look too and lean on if need be. Someone who is a true leader of men. Obviously a new coach is needed in order to get over the hump and start winning consistently, but you also want someone who will be a constant and a reliable figure not just to Herbert but all young players. If a new coach can elevate this team to the next level early on then it sets a precedent for his long term confidence and potential.
3) The orginzation needs to keep enough offensive weapons around him at all times. While this definitely isn’t a problem at the moment, you never want it to become one. This was an issue the team had with Drew Brees very early on until they struck gold with undrafted prize Antonio Gates and later traded for Keenan Mccardell. Rivers even went through a revolving door at wide receiver for a long period of time before Keenan Allen firmly established himself as a true number 1. If guys like Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton continue to develop and continue to improve next year than its safe to say this offense is loaded. It is important to keep it that way. You don’t want to be in a position where 1 or 2 guys go down and suddenly your hurting in the passing game.
With all of this in mind this offseason may be one of the most important ones this orginzation has seen in a long time!