NFL Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert
Oct 4, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter of a NFL game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was an unfortunate way for rookie No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert to get his first start as a pro. Los Angeles Chargers starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was a late scratch for Week 2’s game against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. In the end, it was noted that a Chargers team doctor punctured Taylor’s lung in a mishap.

Unfortunately for Taylor, this will cost him the ability to be the Chargers’ starting quarterback moving forward on the season after he was named the starter during the summer.

Chargers name Justin Herbert starter for remainder of the 2020 NFL season

Herbert has been absolutely stellar in his first three starts for the Chargers. While head coach Anthony Lynn did note that the decision was difficult, it was obviously the right one. Just look at what the Oregon product has done for his Chargers through three weeks.

  • Week 2 (VS- Chiefs): 22-of-33 passing, 311 yards, two total touchdowns, one interception
  • Week 3 (VS- Panthers): 35-of-49 passing, 330 yards, one total touchdown, one interception
  • Week 4 (AT- Buccaneers): 20-of-25 passing, 290 yards, three total touchdowns, one interception

All said, Herbert is completing 72% of his passes for 931 yards with six total touchdowns and three interceptions. While the Chargers are 0-3 in Herbert’s three starts, that has more to do with the team’s defense. After all, Tom Brady threw a whopping five touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ comeback win over the Chargers last week.

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Chargers make the right decision to start Justin Herbert

Again, this is not an indictment of Taylor. It’s unfortunate that the former Pro Bowler lost his starting job this way. Heck, there’s an argument that can be made that he should sue the organization for its handling of his injury.

Even then, Lynn had to make the decision that was right for his team, both over the short term and the long term. Herbert has more than proven that he’s capable of starting under center as a rookie. As with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, it is a shocking development.

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Remember, these rookie signal callers did not have the ability to take part in off-season activities or preseason games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The natural learning curve from the college ranks to the pros is pretty steep for quarterbacks. Add in the above-mentioned issues, and we should be pouring one out for Herbert and Burrow.

Is Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn on the hot seat?

Typically, coaches who are facing a potential pink slip tend to go with the win-now philosophy. For the Chargers, that would include Lynn going with Taylor’s experience over Herbert’s upside. This seems to suggest that Lynn thinks his job with the Chargers is safe.

In reality, it has not been a great run for the Chargers since they earned a surprise playoff appearance back in 2018. Los Angeles boasts a 6-14 record since the start of last season. Of those 14 losses, 12 have come by one score. That’s just not going to cut it from a coaching perspective.

Lynn knows full well that he needs to win this season. That did not stop him from making the right decision. Whether he’s with the Chargers long term isn’t the question here. Herbert is going to be the face of the franchise moving forward. It made no sense to delay that inevitability.

Herbert also now has an opportunity to get the Chargers back in the playoff race. Following a difficult Week 5 outing against the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles has an easy schedule ahead of its Week 10 bye.

Chargers 2020 schedule

  • Week 6: VS- New York Jets (0-4)
  • Week 7: AT- Miami Dolphins (1-3)
  • Week 8: VS- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
  • Week 9: VS- Las Vegas Raiders (2-2)

There’s an argument that can be made for the Chargers winning all four of these games. Keeping the momentum going with Herbert under center made all the sense in the world.

It will be fun to see the young kid do his thing in Southern California for the remainder of the season.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.