Justin Herbert

LA Chargers: When does Justin Herbert get the starting gig?

LA Chargers, Justin Herbert (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
LA Chargers, Justin Herbert (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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When will Justin Herbert be starting under center for the LA Chargers?

The AFC West is bound to be hotly contested in 2020, but eyes are still going to be on the LA Chargers and if/when they decide to go to their franchise quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert. When will the number six pick in this year’s draft finally get under center?

As it sits right now, all signs point to the veteran Tyrod Taylor getting the nod as the starter in Week 1. Lest we forget that Taylor has a winning record of 23-21-1 and once upon a time was actually played before the number one overall pick, Baker Mayfield, in the first few weeks of 2018 until he went down with an injury.

Taylor has long gone under-the-radar in the league, but even to this day, he is a highly-respected veteran in every locker room he’s a part of and when it comes down to crunch time, he can win games.

We all know the plan is to eventually move to Justin Herbert, but if it’s not Week 1, then what week will be his coming out party (if at all) in 2020?

You’d have to think Herbert will come in once Taylor starts to struggle or comes down with another injury. Since we can’t really prepare for a situation where Taylor goes down, our best bet to try and figure out when Herbert will play will be to follow the schedule and see where things could start to go South for the Bolts, which would signal a calling up of Herbert.

Pinpointing when Justin Herbert will start for the LA Chargers:

Week 1 is away at the Bengals, but I think it’s fair to say as much of a mystery as the LA Chargers are, they at least have the veteran savvy on both sides of the ball to be able to win that game. Cincy has a bad O-line and a rookie quarterback going up against Joey Bosa and the Charger secondary, so I’d be very surprised if the LA Chargers started 0-1.

In Week 2, the Bolts get a pass because they host Patrick Mahomes and the reigning champs. nobody is going to expect the Bolts to win that game, but as we’ve seen in the past, the Chiefs’ defense can be moved on, so even if the Bolts come up short, Tyrod and the offense can still have a solid day. They’ll probably lose, but no cause for concern because that wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary against Andy Reid and company.

Week 3 is a home game against the Carolina Panthers, and considering the Panthers are clearly in a rebuild, this could be a win for the Bolts. Tyrod will be opposite Teddy Bridgewater, two very similar quarterbacks with similar skill sets, but Tyrod will have the better team. I’d imagine the Bolts move to 2-1 at this point.

Then this is where it gets interesting because the Bolts get back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 away at the Buccaneers and Saints. I don’t think I’d be saying anything crazy here that the Bolts could lose both of those games against two elite future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees and very good defenses on the road.

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I could very well see Tyrod struggling in both of these games, but the positive to take away here is that if they want Herbert to come in and have immediate success, these two games might not be the best spot for him to do so.

So, Weeks 4 and 5 I would give to Tyrod and see if the veteran quarterback can get the Bolts through those two games.

Now we come to Week 6 and this is where I think there is a great chance we could see Justin Herbert. In Weeks 6-10, the Bolts’ schedule lightens up tremendously with home games against the Jets, Jaguars, and Raiders, one away game at the Dolphins, and then Week 10 is a Bye.

I love this spot for Herbert to come in because after they get done with the Bucs and Saints, they could very well be sitting at 2-3 — not great, but still in the mix.

Then they come up on some very weak teams with sub-par defenses, three of which will be home matchups.

They might lose to the Jets because they get Sam Darnold-ed. They might lose to the Dolphins because they always get played tough by them, and outside of last year, they haven’t won in Miami since 1982. They may even lose to the Raiders because that offense is going to be legit.

But I think there’s a very good chance Herbert can come in with these Charger weapons and put big points on the board against all four defenses they will face between Weeks 6-9. They may lose some of the games, but Herbert can certainly stimulate the Charger offense and impress. And after all four games, they get their Bye week.

The schedule then toughens up after Week 10, so that’s when (if Herbert is the starter) we could see the Oregon standout struggle, but at least there is the likelihood that he starts off his career with some success in those first four games. Then the rest of the way will be his growing pains.

If we’re going to see Justin Herbert this year, I think Week 6 would be a great spot to bring him in if everything goes the way it’s supposed to and the Bolts are under .500 by then at 2-3 or worse.

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If Tyrod is rolling and he gets an upset in those first five games, then stick with the hot hand. But the target week should be around Week 6 to try and get Herbert in there against some weaker defenses.

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