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Chargers CB Chris Harris Jr. calls Justin Herbert ‘the real deal'

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The quarterback showdown between Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert is heating up. 

While the Chargers have favored Taylor as their signal caller this season, the battle with first-round pick Herbert as starting QB is closer than some would think. 

“It’s been a great competition between Herbert and Tyrod Taylor,” Los Angeles cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told ESPN’s First Take. “Tyrod’s leading the way right now, but Herbert, I can’t lie. He’s the real deal, from what I’ve been seeing. He’s definitely passed the eye test, he can make all the throws, he can run, he’s very smart."

It’s a real battle, man. I’m excited to see what that kid can do in the future.

Chris Harris Jr.

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Taylor, a nine-year NFL veteran, has predominantly been a backup most of his career. However, from 2015-17, he started for the Bills for 43 games. He became the Browns starter in 2018, before he was replaced by then-rookie Baker Mayfield in Week 3. 

Last season, Taylor threw just six passes behind veteran Philip Rivers, who departed for the Colts during free agency.

With fresh-faced Herbert now in the mix, Taylor is not only tasked with grooming the highly touted prospect to eventually take over as the Chargers franchise quarterback, he’s also challenged with holding a prized starting spot in front of Herbert. 

On Friday, the former Oregon star finally got a taste of what that could look like. 

Herbert has been working against the second-team defense during practices, but the young QB was recently challenged with the first-string defense instead.


“Last couple days, he’s struggled a little bit. It’s good to see him struggle a little bit the last couple days because I felt like we weren’t challenging him enough,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Friday. “I think this is going to help him take the next step. It’s good for him to be uncomfortable."

As long as he’s uncomfortable and we don’t break his spirit, I think that’s an opportunity for great growth. 

Anthony Lynn on Herbert

With no joint practices or preseason games this year, the Chargers are tasked with finding ways for the future of their franchise to get up to NFL speed. 

But even when facing some of the most stout competition, there is bound to be struggles along the way. Taylor knows first-hand. 

“He’s out there making plays,” Taylor told Pro Football Talk of Herbert. “There’s still a learning curve, a learning process like [with] every young player in this league. But he’s doing his best. He’s going out there and making plays.”

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