While Justin Herbert hasn’t had the opportunity to get out in the sun with his Los Angeles Chargers teammates just yet, he’s already soaking up the team’s playbook.
In a Zoom call with reporters this weekend, the Chargers top pick said he’s getting the most out of his online sessions and immersing himself in the playbook during virtual meetings with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and QBs coach Pep Hamilton.
''Reading it and doing it are different,” Herbert said. “I take pride in my preparation. This type of learning I feel comfortable with, being able to pick up as much as I can. I’ve always taken pride in whether it’s schoolwork or in the classroom. This type of learning situation I feel comfortable with. I’m going to do my best to pick up as much as I can in this situation.
“When that time comes when we go out on the field, I know that I’ll be ready.”
The rookie quarterback says the Chargers offensive playbook draws similarities to the one he learned at Oregon.
“There are a lot of things and there’s a lot more formations and protections,” Herbert said. “It’s much more complex than what we had (at Oregon) so I’m going to do everything I can to learn it as quickly as I can.”
Herbert has also challenged himself in getting to know his Chargers teammates, many of who are outside the quarterback room. He is embracing the opportunity to build chemistry with them, whether that’s lifting weights with the offensive lineman or throwing with the wide receivers.
''You have to find a way to introduce yourself, whether it is lifting or throwing. I changed my lifting group so I could work out with some of the offensive linemen,'' Herbert said.
Over the next few weeks, Herbert said he will begin throwing to his top two targets, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. Herbert mentioned that Henry was the first Chargers player to reach out to him when he was selected.
The pre-training camp workouts will certainly aid Herbert and his Chargers squad in having an advantage when players finally are able to take the field together. At Oregon, the Eugene native helped escalate the Ducks’ football program from four wins in 2016 to a 12-win season in 2019, which included a Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl victory during his senior year.
Now in the NFL, Herbert will look to do revitalize the Chargers, who finished 5-11-0 and fourth in the AFC West last season. It will be a daunting task for Herbert, as he has already been taskted to develop a new line of thinking given this new reality the NFL is facing.
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