3. Justin Herbert
Yes, the LA Chargers misused Justin Herbert. Herbert may have had the best rookie season by a quarterback in NFL history and shattered multiple rookie records in 15 starts but he probably could have been even better if he was utilized better.
There were a lot of times throughout the season in which Anthony Lynn and Shane Steichen treated Herbert as if he was Philip Rivers. Quick-read, simple passing designs that kept Herbert in the pocket was far-too-often the playcall.
Very rarely did the team utilize Herbert’s athleticism and rocket arm in designed rollouts. We saw how good he was at evading the pocket and delivering strikes down the field yet the team very rarely intentionally utilized that skillset.
And we all know the problem with running the football. On the surface, it may seem as if the Chargers were a pass-first team as Herbert threw the ball so much. The main problem was the first-down playcalling.
The Chargers were not awfully efficient in first down runs yet called it frequently. According to Sharp Football Statistics, the Chargers ranked ninth in the league in how often they called a run play on first down (53%).
They were the only team in the top-10 to call the run that frequently despite averaging fewer than four yards per carry (3.9). Their success rate was 42%, which was tied for the third-lowest in the league.
So despite being one of the bottom three teams in the league in running the ball on first down, the Chargers were in the upper-third in how often they called first-down runs. That is as backward as it gets.
Just wait until Herbert gets someone who can unlock his full potential on the LA Chargers.