justin herbert

Justin Herbert is already ranked ahead of current NFL starting QBs

Justin Herbert is already ranked ahead of current NFL starting QBs

Justin Herbert hasn’t taken a single snap in the NFL yet, but that doesn't stop people from realizing his potential. 

The former Pac-12 champion and Rose Bowl Offensive MVP was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the sixth pick overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Since then, players and pundits have weighed in on the tremendous ability in the Oregon QB.  

NBC Sports’ Chris Simms sees it, too.

On Wednesday, Simms released a portion of his Top-40 quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the 2020-2021 season.

Here are 40-36:

40. Tua Tagovaila (Dolphins)

39. Dwayne Haskins (Redskins)

38. Mitchell Trubisky (Bears)

37. Justin Herbert (Chargers)

36. Taysom Hill (Saints)

Simms adds, “We discussed during PFT Live the things that makes Herbert potentially special, and the areas in which he potentially needs to improve — including one very specific mechanical enhancement from which Herbert and every other young quarterback who isn’t doing it would benefit. (Trust me, it works.)

There’s no guarantee that Herbert will become a franchise quarterback, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. That's enough to get him a spot in the Top-40 before he has ever officially stepped foot on an NFL field. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert immersing himself in Chargers playbook at minicamp

Here are some of the reasons to be optimistic. 

- The defense to back Herbert up: The Chargers return three Pro Bowl defensive players in 2020: Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III as well as safety Derwin James.

- The receiving weapons: Lining up on the outside of Herbert are eight-year veteran Keenan Allen and four-year veteran Mike Williams, both of which posted 1,000+ receiving yard seasons in 2019.

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert will be a Charger says 9-year-old Justin Herbert

It may be some time until we see Herbert’s NFL debut as a Charger, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the hype and potential surrounding the hometown hero from Eugene is most definitely present.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Justin Herbert’s Redbox Bowl halftime speech is the most Justin Herbert speech ever

Justin Herbert’s Redbox Bowl halftime speech is the most Justin Herbert speech ever

For those of you who don’t remember, most likely because you’ve washed it from your memory on purpose, let’s flash back to the 2018 Redbox Bowl game.

It was a warm, sunny day for a noon kickoff at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The 8-4 Ducks, in head coach Mario Cristobal’s inaugural season, earned a post-season bowl game against the 7-6 Michigan State Spartans.

What came next was anything but predicted.

The Ducks and Spartans entered halftime with the scoreboard reading 0-0, and no that wasn’t the game clock, it was the score. 

Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld joined host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast. Feld was asked what his favorite memory of being a coach at Oregon was. 

One of his favorites came at halftime of this Redbox bowl shutout.

Justin Herbert calls the whole team up - he doesn’t speak a whole lot - and he give this great ‘Hey, everybody relax, do your job, you know the drill, we’re going to go out there and win this game.’ And then he said, ‘Now let’s go out there and kick their butts.’ The entire team died out laughing. It was the perfect comic relief, icebreaker, like everyone calm down. We went out and had a good time the second half. — Aaron Feld

It’s the most Justin Herbert-like speech ever. 

But it also got the job done. The Ducks went on to win 7-6 and Mario Cristobal earned his first post-season bowl game win as head coach at Oregon. Oregon’s sole touchdown was a 28-yard pass from Herbert to wide receiver Dillon Mitchell with 11:19 to play in the fourth quarter.

Oh man, to be a fly on the wall during that halftime speech.

Feld has another favorite memory, quite similar to the one above, that too makes a whole lot of sense when looking at the last four years of the Oregon Football program. 

Last season, Cal had a 7-0 lead at halftime over Oregon in Autzen Stadium, something that doesn’t happen often. 

Troy Dye comes into the locker room, grabs Herbie [Justin Herbert] and pulls him over to the offensive line… We had been coaching and preaching about lifting each other up and elevating everybody and Troy calls these guys over and says, ‘Hey, all we need is eight points. If you get us eight points, we’ll win this game.’ We ended up winning 17-7 so the defense absolutely held their end of the bargain. — Aaron Feld

It’s like those moments when the student becomes the master. 

That kind of leadership was both needed and expected in those crucial moments and throughout the rest of the season from Justin Herbert and Troy Dye when the two decided to forgo the 2019 NFL Draft and return to Oregon for their senior year.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Justin Herbert, NFL rookies deliver hat stunt in Zoom call

Justin Herbert, NFL rookies deliver hat stunt in Zoom call

NFL rookies may have not gotten the opportunity to walk on stage during the 2020 NFL Draft and put on their team’s hat for the first time, but that didn’t stop them from having a moment. 

In a Zoom call released on Sunday by the NFL's Twitter account, 20 rookies took turns handing off and sporting their team’s hats in a viral video. The Brady Bunch-esque clip included first-year quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and of course, former Oregon Football stud Justin Herbert. 

You can spot Herbert in one of the Zoom chat boxes in the right corner. He receives the cap from Tagovailoa, and then strikes a pose with his Los Angeles Chargers draft hat. 

Not bad for a rookie. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, players and their families took part in the draft remotely on their couches.

The act of practicing with their new teams for the first time has also been altered. Rather than participate in organized team activities and minicamps, players are physical distancing in a virtual offseason program which includes classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs. 

On Monday, Herbert and his fellow rookies will begin a seven-week rookie football development program, which consists of one extra hour of instruction per day. 

Herbert detailed his online sessions with the Chargers in a recent Zoom call with reporters. He said he’s been challenging himself to get to know his new teammates, including targets Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, who he intends to begin workouts with in the coming weeks.  

You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

Justin Herbert immersing himself in Chargers playbook at minicamp 

Justin Herbert immersing himself in Chargers playbook at minicamp 

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.  

You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

Hey Willie Taggart, your take on Justin Herbert... was really bad

Hey Willie Taggart, your take on Justin Herbert... was really bad

When freshman quarterback Justin Herbert took over the reigns six games into his collegiate football career, some questioned his acts of leadership, or rather lack of leadership. 

Herbert had a quiet demeanor. He wasn’t talkative to the media during press conferences and chose to lead by example rather than use his voice.

On the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast, host Jordan Kent was joined by former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz to talk about Herbert’s future in the NFL:

I tried so hard to get someone to give me something. Like, ‘He melted one time under pressure’ or ‘He yelled at a teammate’ or ‘He cried,’ whatever it was. Just something. Give me one piece of information that tells me he can’t lead the team. I got none of it. No one would say anything. — Geoff Schwartz

Schwartz even called out former Oregon football head coach Willie Taggart (2017-2018) for raising this awareness of Herbert’s quiet demeanor. 

The thing about Herbert-- One, is that all leadership stuff was ridiculous. I’m sure you’ve heard people talking… it’s from Willie Taggart. It’s ridiculous. The leadership is not a problem. 

The Willie Taggart era of Oregon football was like a summer fling gone wrong. You took a chance hoping for the best, and at the beginning it was with that whole ‘Do Something’ campaign, the inspirational quotes on social, the lollipops at practice, landing a few big time recruits. But then, as the time passed, the true colors came out. And just as you were thinking about breaking up, the person beats you to the punch and breaks up with you before summer was over.

A waste of time? For most Oregon football fans, perhaps.

Following the 2017 season, Taggart did not name a starting quarterback despite Herbert being the starter at the conclusion of the 2016 season. After the spring game, Taggart called out Herbert’s leadership:

"I'm looking for more than just throwing touchdowns. I'm looking for a guy that can lead this football team. A guy that's going to rally everybody on this team, not just the offensive guys, but defense and everyone. When we can find that guy, that's when we are going to name a starter."

Translation: Herbert's leadership skills are lacking and holding him back.  

Well, the rest is history. Taggart darted for his ‘dream job’ at Florida State before finishing out the season at Oregon; Mario Cristobal was appointed as head coach; the Ducks went on to be Pac-12 champions and Rose Bowl victors behind their fearless leader Justin Herbert; Taggart is now coaching his third team in four seasons. 

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

Verone McKinely III thinks concerns about Justin Herbert's leadership are wrong

Verone McKinely III thinks concerns about Justin Herbert's leadership are wrong

Leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, now-Los Angeles Quarterback Justin Herbert had a few concerns about him as a prospect that kept being brought up in conversations about his NFL future.

The one that kept persisting was his leadership, no matter how much his teammates in Eugene said that criticism was invalid. 

Add Oregon cornerback Verone McKinley III to that list. The soon-to-be redshirt sophomore joined CJ McCollum on the Pull Up Podcast to talk about the NFL Draft and his thoughts on the leadership concerns about his quarterback.

Definitely. I trust him [with the game on the line] because he knows everything he's doing. Sometimes he's more of a lead by example type of guy so that's why there was speculation of how he may not be a good leader or he doesn't talk as much. Justin definitely talks and he definitely brings us together as a team... but sometimes, forget all the talking and let's play ball. 

The cornerback, who spent two seasons on campus with Herbert, cited the signal caller's desire to win as an integral element to his leadership.

"He's a competitor in everything. I've played basketball with him multiple times. Bowling, golf, anything we play, Justin's trying to win," said McKinley III.

"He gets serious... We were playing pickup basketball as a team and he went and dunked on somebody... He's like a freak athlete and he doesn't get credit for it."

At 6'6" with a 36" vertical leap it's no wonder Herbert could get up above the rim. 

McKinley isn't alone in the Oregon program supporting Herbert. Head coach Mario Cristobal called him "the best [quarterback] I've been around" in a radio interview with WQAM ahead of the 2019 season.

"This guy is all of 6'6", he’s 240 pounds. Driven, determined, hungry, off-the-charts smart, can make every throw, can run, can run the entire offense, can manage the run game, can flip protections — he can do it all. He really is that kind of a guy. He’s loved by his teammates — everyone just thinks the world of him. He’s a grinder."

NFL Combine, Senior Bowl big factors in the Chargers selecting Justin Herbert

NFL Combine, Senior Bowl big factors in the Chargers selecting Justin Herbert

There is no shortage of hard work and dedication when it comes to Justin Herbert.

During this time of quarantine, Herbert has continued to find ways to stay in shape, throw the football, watch film, everything he needs to do to stay prepared for anything, and that’s exactly what the Los Angeles Chargers saw in the Oregon football prodigy.

It just so happens that Herbert lives with two receivers, his brothers Mitchell (played wide receiver at Montana State University) and Patrick (current tight end at the University of Oregon). 

Herbert’s work ethic in the shadows came to fruition his freshman year at Oregon: was once listed on the quarterback depth chart behind Montana State grad transfer Dakota Prukop, Travis Jonsen and Terry Wilson (now the starter at Kentucky) and then went on to carry the Ducks from a 4-8 season to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. 

Herbert and the Chargers were just meant to be. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert will be a Charger, says 9-year-old Justin Herbert

Here’s what Los Angeles saw in the four-year, hometown hero:

They are excited to have me and they wanted me to develop and grow with them. That I didn’t shy away from anything this offseason. I didn’t shy away from the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine, things like that. They really appreciated that. They were just excited for an opportunity to grow with me and I’m really looking forward to do it with them. — Justin Herbert

Not only did Herbert not shy away from these opportunities, but he excelled in them. The Senior Bowl and NFL Combine are more opportunities to showcase your skill as an NFL prospect. For someone like Herbert who didn’t have social media until just recently, you have to display your talent in numerous ways especially in this evolving, technology-driven world we live in today.

One argument for not participating in postseason games is the risk of injury, which makes sense. For being so close to the NFL Draft and starting your NFL career, it is definitely a risk for sure. But some players need that extra opportunity. 

Herbert was able to show off his cannon for an arm and leadership abilities that resulted in a Senior Bowl MVP. He then shined weeks later at the NFL Combine.

And now has found a new home in Los Angeles, an equally perfect match for both parties.

Be sure to listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert here.

It wasn't the Bellagio fountains, but Justin Herbert thankful for his car parade on draft night

It wasn't the Bellagio fountains, but Justin Herbert thankful for his car parade on draft night

What do you do when your hometown hero is drafted No. 6 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft during a worldwide pandemic?

You hold a car parade of course. 

That is exactly what the Oregon football coaching staff did Thursday night on the opening night of the NFL Draft as the Eugene, Oregon community was anxiously waiting to hear quarterback Justin Herbert’s name be taken off the boards.

I had probably two hours of media right after the draft and so they were waiting outside for about 2 hours. The real ones stuck around. — Justin Herbert

Under normal circumstances, Herbert would have been the sixth player to hop on a boat and be driven out to a floating stage on the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was supposed to be surrounded by his friends, family, and coaches. High fives and hugs all around. It was supposed to be a draft experience for the ages. 

Unfortunately, the NFL Draft was fully virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Herbert watched his name up on the TV screen and hugged his parents and two brothers from his living room. 

It was an unforgettable career for the Eugene native who will now pack his nags and move 856.9 miles to Los Angeles and live somewhere not called Eugene, Oregon for this first time in his life. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert will be a Charger, says 9-year-old Justin Herbert

[RELATED]: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s Rookie of the Year odds revealed

I think they got the total package. What you seen in terms of his tangibles, 6-foot-6, 230 pounds that can make every throw imaginable, that can run like the wind. I think when you get a chance to be around Justin, I think the Chargers will quickly find out that his intangibles match this tangible assets as well. — Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal on SportsCenter

Herbert and Oregon made history on draft night, becoming one of three teams in the nation with five first round quarterbacks selected in the draft in the common era: Chris Miller (1987), Akili Smith (1999), Joey Harrington (2002), Marcus Mariota (2015), and Justin Herbert (2020). 

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert here.

Justin Herbert reveals his favorite memory as an Oregon Duck

Justin Herbert reveals his favorite memory as an Oregon Duck

After being selected sixth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chargers, Justin Herbert is heading to Los Angeles.

It'll the best first time in his life he will not be living in Eugene, Oregon.

Before making the move, Herbert joined host Jordan Kent on the Talkin' Ducks podcast to look forward to his NFL career while also reminiscing on the good memories shared in Eugene. The three-star quarterback from Sheldon High School turned NFL franchise cornerstone had many great times as an Oregon Duck, but one moment stood out from the rest. 

I would say probably the Washington game two years ago at home. I think that was kind of the moment that things really started to turn our way after going 4-8 and then 7-5, we have this big win at home. It was kind of a symbol of things are going in the right way. We got the right guys and it just went up from there. 

I mean, just look at his face when Verdell crossed the plane.

Pure joy.

And for good reason. The victory over the Huskies was Herbert's career going full circle. He infamously made his first start against No. 5 Washington in a 70-21 loss at Autzen Stadium, snapping Oregon's 12-game winning streak against their biggest rival. 

Two seasons later, Herbert defeated No. 7 Washington at the same stadium 30-27 in Mario Cristobal's first season as head coach. The victory was proof that the program was heading in the right direction under Cristobal. The Ducks were embracing a more physical, SEC-style of play. The choke against Stanford a few weeks prior was the exception, a growing pain, rather than the rule. 

By Herbert's senior season, he left Oregon a Pac-12 Champion and Rose Bowl Champion. He's correct. The victory over Washington in 2018 was when the tide shifted. 

The game wasn't just memorable for Herbert and his Oregon teammates, however. It also happened to occur during the crucial official visit of Kayvon Thibodeaux: the nation's top-ranked recruit. 

"Best college game I've ever been to, best energy," he said. "It was packed to the end."

Thibodeaux would later commit to Oregon and have an immensely successful freshman season: 9.0 sacks, one forced fumble, and a blocked punt. 

You can listen to the full podcast here.

 

Justin Herbert will be a Charger says 9-year old Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert will be a Charger says 9-year old Justin Herbert

"What are your plans for after graduation?"

It's the question all soon-to-be college graduates dread. Most people say "I don't know? Go wherever will hire me?" 

Well, Justin Herbert is not most people. 

He's been speaking his postgraduate destination into existence since he was nine years old when he accurately predicted he'd be a professional football player in Los Angeles, CA (okay he said California, Los Angeles but cut Justin some slack). 

Little Justin said his favorite team was Chargers football. Did he have the foresight to know they would be moving from San Diego? Perhaps.

Eleven-year-old Justin Herbert also said his largest pet peeve was "loosing". That competitive drive probably helped him turn the Ducks program around from a 4-8 freshman season to Pac-12 Champions and Rose Bowl Champions during his senior season. 

Last week, the Chargers tweeted this adorable throwback picture of their franchise quarterback shortly after drafting him.

What stuck out to many on social media was how good nine-year-old Justin Herbert's handwriting was back then.

The kid from Sheldon High School has so far achieved nearly every dream he's had. Having grown up as a huge Ducks fan in Eugene, attending games in Autzen Stadium, watching Joey Harrington and Marcus Mariota, playing for the University of Oregon was Justin Herbert's dream school. Despite being a three-star quarterback with only four offers, and only one from an FBS school, he got an offer from the Ducks where he became a four-year starter. 

Now he's taking his talents to the National Football League to play for the Chargers, his favorite professional franchise as a kid. 

Herbert also wanted to be a doctor if his football career didn't pan out. He graduated from Oregon a recipient of the William V. Campbell Award, otherwise known as the Academic Heisman Trophy. With a 4.01 GPA majoring in general science with an emphasis in biology, Herbert was poised to attend medical school.

But, medical school will have to wait because he has defenders to school instead.