Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has proven he’s ready for gridiron glory in the NFL ranks.
Since stepping into the Los Angeles Chargers starting QB role after Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung in Week 2, the 22-year-old has flourished.
He’s vaulted himself into the conversation of the league’s top-ranked quarterbacks through four games, completing 97-of-141 passes (69%) for 1,195 yards and nine touchdowns to three interceptions and one additional rushing touchdown.
But while Herbert has dazzled through the first quarter of the NFL season, the Chargers have a dismal 1-4 record and the former Oregon standout is still searching for his first win as a pro. Can he be considered reliable?
If you asked Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, it's murky.
“I’m looking at a standpoint of contending teams,” Florio said. “I’ve got faith in Justin Herbert, but the team’s 1-4 so, I want to put my money on a rookie who is with a team that is going to make a difference, and he’s gonna make something happen, and he’s going to be playing in January.”
Chris Simms, on the other hand, believes Justin Herbert has been just what the Chargers needed. He argued that the Herbert’s supporting cast should be at fault for his lack of checks in the win column.
“I’m picking Herbert because I’m saying, ‘hey Chargers, take the training wheels off,’” Simms said. “And not on Justin Herbert, his are off. You coaches take them off. Stop with the first-down runs, second-down run. ‘Oh we’re managing our quarterback.’ Oh, you’re managing so much that you put him in on 3rd and 12. The Chargers can’t run the ball…”
Simms continued to spew his distaste for those surrounding the Chargers sixth-overall pick, adding that there have been several questionable coaching decisions made along the way.
“He’s the star, open up the game," Simms said. "You’re doing a disservice to him right now. Part of the reason they’ve lost the last few weeks is because they get leads and then manage the game to where they’re like ‘hey guys, we’re winning by too much, we’d like the other team to comeback a little bit, so we’re going to totally sit on the ball and do nothing.”
Herbert has done everything he can to help his Chargers win, and it was apparent in the box score on Monday night. He completed 20-of-34 passes for 264 yards with no interceptions vs. Drew Brees and the Saints and became the first rookie to deliver four touchdown passes on “Monday Night Football.”
“Losing’s tough. It always is," Herbert told reporters following the Chargers fourth-consecutive loss. “I know we’re really close. I know if we keep working hard and doing the right things, good things will happen. I love the way this team battles.”
So, is Herbert a reliable player? We’ll let you be the judge.
While Herbert is still searching for his first victory as a starter, Simms added the Chargers still have a legitimate chance to right the ship. That is, when they return from their unexpected Week 5 bye and face Jacksonville on Oct. 25.
“They have a chance still,” Simms said. “The Jaguars, the Broncos, the Dolphins, the Jets, those are four of the next five teams they play, they can win those four games and be right back in the mix of things.”