LA Chargers: Pump the brakes on the Justin Herbert train

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

A lot of fans want to see Justin Herbert starting for the LA Chargers sooner rather than later.

The LA Chargers are 1-0 on the season and you would think that they are 0-8. Tyrod Taylor did not have a great game in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals — bad enough that a good portion of the fanbase is already calling for rookie Justin Herbert to start.

We need to pump the brakes.

First of all, this is not coming from a place of bias. I have been openly critical of Tyrod Taylor in the past and petitioned for the team to go get Cam Newton. I even compared Taylor to Marcus Mariota. That tells you all you need to know.

And while Taylor performed as I would have expected in Week 1, I can also acknowledge that it is way too soon to give up on him as being a decent starter this season. Before the season, us Charger fans were hyping him up for having the best weapons of his career and having playoff experience.

Now, after one shaky performance in a win, with no preseason, all of that is thrown out the window? I agree, Tyrod Taylor is not a fantastic quarterback, but it is funny how quickly the narrative shifted.

The reason we need to pump the brakes on the Justin Herbert train is not Taylor, it is Herbert himself. We are two weeks into an NFL season with no preseason and a very limited training camp (compared to normal years). It is not time to rush a quarterback into a role he is not ready for.

History indicates that is could hurt the LA Chargers and Justin Herbert

There is a train of thought that if you are good then you are good and rushing you into a starting role won’t change that. While I agree with that argument to an extent, my entire point with Herbert starting this soon is why would the Chargers openly rush him into something he is not ready for?

Isn’t it the team’s job to put Herbert in the best position to succeed? Yes, other teams have started guys right away and they went on to succeed — but they also either had no choice or had more luxuries for that quarterback.

The Chargers have great weapons but the offensive line still is a bit shaky and again — HE HAD NO PRESEASON. People bring up the likes of Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson while forgetting that those two ONLY won the starting job in year one because of their showing in the preseason.

There are recent examples of this method failing. Sam Darnold (albeit it is a different situation) was noticeably not ready and is now in a terrible situation with a terrible head coach. Josh Rosen is already a journeyman. Josh Allen had more interceptions than touchdowns his rookie year and fumbled eight times in 12 games.

Blake Bortles is not in the league, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are backups, etc. Yes, there are counter-examples, the best recent example being Deshaun Watson.

But at the same time, we have examples of not rushing a quarterback when you have the choice to. Patrick Mahomes sat an entire year, Aaron Rodgers sat several years, both Jared Goff and Lamar Jackson sat nine games until they were ready to take over the starting job.

Is this to say that Herbert should not play at all this season? Not at all. But rushing him before he is ready early in the season, especially when you play the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints in a four-game stretch, is not the smartest thing in the world.

Wait until he is fully ready. Give him multiple weeks to practice with the first team. Maybe that happens after the bye week, so Herbert can get two full weeks with the first team. There is nothing wrong with him playing this year as long as the team doesn’t throw him to the wolves.

How do we know he is not ready? The LA Chargers have told us all we need to know. If he was ready he would be starting by now and we would not be hearing about his struggles in training camp from Anthony Lynn.

They know more than we do. We don’t see every rep, every practice, what goes on behind the scenes. The coaching staff does. And to sit here and pretend like we know more about Herbert than they do… well… I just don’t understand that line of thinking.

The silver lining of losing Mike Pouncey. Next

Tyrod Taylor will start at least five games for the LA Chargers this season, barring injury, of course. It is time we just accept that as the truth and root for him as the starting quarterback.