Brandon Staley: Justin Herbert wanted to be out there with his teammates
The Jaguars blew out the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday, taking a 29-10 lead through three quarters and a 38-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But quarterback Justin Herbert — who’s dealing with fractured rib cartilage — was still in the game throwing passes and taking hits through the final play.
“That’s a good question. He wanted to be out there with his teammates,” head coach Brandon Staley said after the game. “He felt good and he wanted to finish the game. He wanted to give our group some energy. And we were going to protect him there at the end with really sound protection — as best we could. But it was more about him wanting to finish with his guys.”
As a follow up, Staley was asked if there was a point that he should step in as the head coach and take out his franchise quarterback given that he already has a significant injury.
“For sure, yeah. Believe me, throughout the entire game,” Staley said. “That’s the first thought throughout the game and at the end of the game. And so, trust me, there’s no one that’s thinking about it more than I am.”
For his part, Herbert said he felt fine on the field and didn’t want to disappoint his teammates.
“I didn’t want to go out and I felt like we were getting the ball out quick,” Herbert said in his press conference. “It’s what the team needs and sometimes you have to put your goals and everything behind the team. I think that’s what’s most important.
“I felt like I was safe out there and I didn’t want to quit on my team.”
Staley said there was discussion with Herbert on the sideline about coming out, but the quarterback was adamant that he wanted to stay in.
“That was just the decision that we made,” Staley said. “It was about us finishing that game as a team and it was important to us that we did it.”
Staley faced several questions about leaving Herbert in the game and mainly came back to the same refrain. But he did note that Herbert’s ribs issue isn’t going away anytime soon.
“I understand your entire line of questioning — I understand it. Justin’s going to be feeling like this when he’s out there playing. This injury is going to be there for a while. If you guys know the injury, it’s not like it’s going to feel better next week or the week after that. This thing is going to be present for a while. He felt good today. And we’re going to continue to manage it.”
Staley added there likely is a point that he would pull Herbert from a game. But that point clearly was not on Sunday.