NFL Media’s Brian Baldinger knows a thing or two about quarterback play. Those on social media wait patiently for his game breakdowns. They are something else. Recently, Sportsnaut caught up with Baldinger to talk about Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
Despite his team’s overall struggles and the status of head coach Anthony Lynn being up in the air, Herbert has showed out pretty well as a rookie quarterback — to say the least.
Baldinger began by talking about Herbert’s first NFL start back in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs after Tyrod Taylor was a late scratch.
Brian Baldinger: Justin Herbert’s first NFL start
“I am doing the game for national radio. So we’re in the booth. The national anthem just played. I see Tyrod Taylor go into the locker room. So I thought he must be getting his rib protector or something,” Baldinger said. “So he doesn’t come out and Justin Herbert starts the game. Herbert comes out there and takes the Chargers right down the field and scores right away. He looks like he’s been doing it his whole life.”
That really is what most of us saw, as Justin Herbert nearly led the Chargers to an upset win over the defending champion Chiefs in Week 2. The rookie No. 6 overall pick completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 yards with two total touchdowns and one interception in a 23-20 loss.
Prior to some struggles during a Week 13 blowout loss to the New England Patriots, Herbert had been playing some absolutely tremendous football. That initial start was a precursor for things to come.
“It took two 59-yard field goals form the field goal kicker of the Chiefs to beat them (the Chargers) that day,” Baldinger said. “And I said, this guy is as close to a natural as you can get. I mean, deep ball, athletic…he can do it during every game.”
Baldinger’s take on Justin Herbert and the signal-caller’s dynamic game tape align perfectly with what we’ve seen from the Oregon product thus far as a rookie. He’s been special.
Justin Herbert stats
- Completions: 331
- Attempts: 499
- Completion %: 66.3
- Passing yards: 3,467
- Total touchdowns: 28
- Interceptions: 10
- QB rating: 94.7 rating
If Justin Herbert keeps up at this pace over the final stretch of his rookie season, the precocious field general will go down in the record books as having one of the top maiden campaigns in the history of the NFL.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers moving on from Anthony Lynn
There’s going to be one minor hiccup for Justin Herbert moving forward. At this point, it’s highly likely the Chargers will fire their head coach after the 2020 season comes to a conclusion. This means Herbert will end up having two different offensive coordinators in his first two NFL seasons. That can set any quarterback back a bit.
With that said, Herbert’s success thus far can’t go unnoticed. As Brian Baldinger notes, he’s a natural. It will be fun to see who Herbert works under as an NFL sophomore next season. The sky appears to be the limit here.