Justin Herbert reflects on adverse rookie year: 'It’s not the year we wanted'


Justin Herbert’s first year as a pro is in the (record) books.

The Los Angeles Chargers sixth-overall pick exceeded expectations in his first season and broke nearly every possible NFL rookie passing record including most passing yards (4,336), most passing touchdowns (31) and most completions (396). He was just six yards shy of Andrew Luck’s rookie record of 4,374 yards passing.

Subscribe to the Talkin' Ducks podcast

But when recapping his rookie season on the Dan Patrick Show, the Oregon product wasn’t focused on his success in the 2020 season. Instead, the Chargers starting QB reflected on the highs and lows of his team’s 7-9 season.

He feels the Chargers left a few wins on the table.

I would say I learned a lot— obviously a tough year,” Herbert said. “It’s not the year we wanted. Obviously, would have loved to have won a couple more games, but I’m so proud of the way the guys battled— especially after losing 45-0 at home against the Patriots. We turn around and go win four in a row. I’m not an NFL expert yet, but usually that doesn’t happen. So, that locker room the guys put together, I was really proud of them.”


Looking ahead to 2021, excitement around Herbert’s promising campaign has hit a fever pitch. After the 22-year-old cemented himself as one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, newly-hired head coach Brandon Staley can’t wait to fulfill his “vision” in building an offense around their quarterback of the future.  

“My vision for the offense really fits Justin and what he can do well and where we want to take it and how we want to play and feature in his style of play,” Staley told reporters. “Not ... to impose a system on him. It’s creating the system for Justin and uniquely shaping it to his skill set. Because he is unlike anybody in the NFL.”

Surely the Chargers have a lot of work to do if they want to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2018, but it’s not too far-fetched to think Herbert could be the guy to turn things around in LA just like he did in Eugene, Oregon.