Justin Herbert only has one year of NFL experience under his belt but he is already a star.
The former Ducks QB lit the league on fire this past season, breaking numerous records and winning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The year ended up being historical, but it was never intended to be.
The Chargers' plan was to sit their rookie quarterback as long as possible while Tyrod Taylor ran the offense. However, a freak accident to Taylor in Week 2 forced head coach Anthony Lynn to start Herbert at the last second. Taylor got Wally Pipp'd and the rest, they say, is history.
In a recent interview on the Compass on the Beat podcast, Lynn, now the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, talked about the poise his former quarterback showed under extreme circumstances.
“I did not want to expose him too soon. I’ve seen what that has done to some top picks, especially at the quarterback position," said Lynn. "Sometimes, those young men never recover because they’re living in a day and age where media is just right there. I mean, social media, and things spread, and some of these kids are just not mentally strong enough to overcome a lot of the negative vibes that they get early in their careers. I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at the quarterback position."
“But Justin had to go in and play. We didn’t have any choice. Tyrod got his lungs punctured. Justin found out as the ball was literally in the air. I’m grabbing Justin saying, ‘You’re the starter.’ And the way he handled that situation, I tell you what, he couldn’t have handled it any better.”
Herbert took his first NFL snaps that night and completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers lost that night, but Herbert turned heads all around the league. He only got better from there and even when Taylor healed up, Herbert remained the starter.
“There’s a lot of things that went on that you guys will never know about behind the scenes but that’s part of him being a young, rookie quarterback. But overall, the way he handled that situation, I could not have asked for anything better. And I just think that’s going to be a great foundation for him going forward.”
Herbert finished the season with 4,336 yards through the air, just 39 yards short of breaking Andrew Luck's rookie record. He also ended with 396 completions, 31 passing touchdowns, and 36 total touchdowns, all records for a rookie quarterback
One year in and Herbert is already one of the best in the game.