LA Chargers: Grading Justin Herbert and the 2020 QB group

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(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Now that we’ve hit the official end of the 2020 NFL season, it’s time to look back on the Chargers‘ season. Specifically, I want to talk about how each position group did for the team relative to my preseason grades.

The big wrinkle that wasn’t expected when I wrote my positional grades last June was Justin Herbert starting as quickly as he did. Of course, there was no way for me to predict that the team doctor would puncture Tyrod Taylor‘s lung on accident. Oh, and I had no idea Justin Herbert would be as good as he was.

Here are the grades for the LA Chargers quarterbacks room in 2020:

Justin Herbert

I sided with Anthony Lynn when it came to the clipboard year idea for Herbert. It just felt like so many kinks needed to be ironed out while watching his college tape. He did have a knack for staring down receivers and lacked in processing.

The other factor that loomed large for me was no preseason or real training camp. It was not a normal offseason in the slightest, which gave credence to Lynn’s Herbert philosophy in my view.

The rookie told me to shove it, throwing for 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 4336 passing yards. Add five rushing touchdowns into the mix to break Cam Newton’s NFL rookie record for total touchdowns.

He was a decisive passer that showed incredible competence for a rookie. 66.6% completion at the NFL level is insane, especially when considering that he had two seasons well below that mark in college.

Herbert saved this team from what would’ve otherwise been a totally disastrous season. While I still like Tyrod Taylor quite a bit as a game manager, that’s what he was. He would not have been able to push the ball down the field enough to overcome the bad offensive line or the plethora of injuries on defense.

To put it bluntly, he also might not have been good enough to overcome the deficiencies of the coaching staff.

For the first time in a while, it feels like there’s true hope for this team to become a Super Bowl contender under Herbert. If he elevates his game or even stays at his current level, he’ll get his chances to take out Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in future Januarys.

There are still some small things Herbert can improve on like better target variation or getting a better feel for his arm strength on shorter throws, but they’re mostly nitpicks. Congrats to the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Preseason grade: C

Final 2020 grade: A-