If there was one rookie quarterback that could have really benefitted from a preseason to get acclimated to the speed and pace of the NFL, it’s Justin Herbert.
The former Oregon Duck four-year starting quarterback was selected No. 6 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in this year’s NFL Draft. Los Angeles is planning for the future and has put its faith in the 6-foot-6, 237-pound pocket passer. 10-year veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is the projected starter Week One, but Duck and Bolt fans are anticipating Herbert’s name to be called should Los Angeles fall into the losing category quickly.
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Former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti has high praise for the Eugene-native quarterback prodigy, and believes it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before Herbert blossoms into the NFL quarterback he’s destined to become.
At times, I didn’t feel like the Oregon offense suited him as much as it could. If they were able to run the ball, everything worked. It they couldn’t run the ball, nothing worked… I think Justin Herbert has the physical talent, he has the want to do it, the intelligence - there’s no question about that - intellect, and it’s just a matter of time. — Mike Bellotti
It was the best of times and the worst of times for Oregon’s ground game in 2019.
There were a few games where the combination of CJ Verdell, Travis Dye and Cyrus Habibi-Likio could not reach 100 total yards rushing between the rotation and other games where Verdell ran for 200 yards plus against the nation’s second best run defense (vs. Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game).
Many questioned the play-calling and offensive style that former Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo brought to the table. However, if Herbert was ‘on a leash’ so to speak, he still managed to lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship and 2020 Rose Bowl victory his senior year.
Herbert’s talented arm has already been on display in HBO Sports’ Hard Knocks series featuring the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. Herbert and the Chargers are 16 days away from facing an opponent not wearing that beautiful powder blue and yellow jersey…
He will need to play to get his feet wet, to get a sense, to learn the pace of the game, the camouflage of the defense… From what I’ve seen, they have him under center. They’re doing some bootleg stuff but not zone read stuff
Videos from Chargers training camp show Herbert playing under center.
He rarely, if at all, ever played under center at Oregon.
The videos also show the Chargers running a lot of bootleg action.
The Ducks primarily ran zone reads.
Regardless of what Herbert was used to in college, some may have forgotten that he was a 4.0 GPA student at the University of Oregon who majored in biology and capped off his senior season winning the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is basically the academic Heisman Trophy.
Like Bellotti said, Herbert’s time will come…
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