After a standout 2020 season in which he broke multiple rookie records, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is primed for an MVP-esque sophomore campaign.
Herbert's second season begins Sunday in Washington. The opposing quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is on the other end of his career than Herbert. Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Washington's veteran raved about just how impressive the Chargers franchise QB was last season.
“What he did last year was ridiculous," Fitzpatrick said.
This past offseason, Fitzpatrick had the chance to meet Herbert at a golf tournament. After talking to the Chargers' young star, Fitzpatrick was not only impressed by Herbert's intelligence but also his physicality as well.
"I met him at a golf tournament this year and he's enormous. He's a big dude," Fitzpatrick said. "Shaking hands with him, you notice his size. I think he's kind of got all those tools physically and then all the intangibles as well."
What also specifically impressed Fitzpatrick about Herbert was how NFL-ready the No. 6 overall pick was when he entered the league last season.
"He did a great job last year," Fitzpatrick said. "For me, watching some of these young guys come in and, you know, him last year, I marvel at how mature they are, how NFL-ready they are right away. What a great job that he did.”
One specific example of such could be what transpired right before Herbert's NFL debut. Fitzpatrick didn't mention it specifically, but what happened was a perfect example of what Washington's quarterback was speaking about.
Herbert began the season as the backup to veteran Tyrod Taylor. Yet, just minutes before the Chargers' Week 2 game against the Chiefs, Taylor was taken to the hospital after a team doctor accidentally punctured his lung while attempting to give him an injection.
It would have been easy for Herbert to fold there. He had no idea he was making his NFL debut that day until minutes before kickoff, against the defending Super Bowl champions nonetheless.
But the former Oregon star rose to the occasion. Herbert threw for over 300 yards while completing 67% of his passes. He accounted for two touchdowns (one throwing, one rushing) and took LA into overtime against Kansas City before the Chiefs won on a field goal. From that point on, he never relinquished the starting job and turned in one of the best rookie QB seasons in NFL history.
As an NFL journeyman, Fitzpatrick has experienced almost every situation an NFL quarterback can go through. He knows what it's like to enter games on extremely short notice. That performance from Herbert had to have impressed Washington's new QB.
"I mean, you're not supposed to come in as a rookie and look that polished and play that well, be that composed," Fitzpatrick said. Kickoff is set to take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Coverage begins with Washington Football Kickoff live on NBC Sports Washington and the MyTeams app at 12 p.m. and Washington Football Postgame Live immediately following the game.