Easton Stick has been in the center of some conversations regarding his potential use in the 2021 LA Chargers‘ offense. Chase Daniel will be Justin Herbert‘s primary backup, but some think that Stick could play a similar type of role to Saints’ swiss army knife Taysom Hill.
Former New Orleans quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi is now the Chargers’ offensive coordinator, so maybe there is something behind the idea.
When he was drafted, the LA Chargers themselves said that it was at least a possibility:
There are some key differences between Stick and Hill though. For one, Hill has been a utility player/quarterback since high school. The Saints have lined him up all over the field and he started at wide receiver in his varsity years.
While one could argue that Stick was a “dual-threat” quarterback through college, he doesn’t have the experience as a utility player that Hill did entering the NFL.
Hill is also a more physical player. 6’3″ 230 pounds may not seem a whole lot different from 6’1″ 215, but it is in terms of leverage and power. Going off both of their 40 times, Hill is also the faster player to use in designed runs. We’ve also seen Hill hit top speeds of 20+ miles per hour in the NFL.
Let’s pretend that Stick and Hill were the same type of athletic specimen for a moment. One of the key reasons that the Saints used Hill as much as they did in Drew Brees’ final years was to preserve Brees for the playoffs.
Brees was 39 when the Saints and Lombardi started using Hill in an increased manner. His arm wasn’t what it used to be. If New Orleans could save Brees from throwing five or so snaps per game with some Hill plays, it added up by the end of the season.
That was their calculus to at least some degree. Justin Herbert just turned 23 years old and has one of the strongest arms in the game. Taking him off of the field for a set amount of snaps per game is a ridiculous idea. The LA Chargers are clearly at their best when Herbert is on the field.
I’m not against designing some trick plays with Stick that the team uses once in a while. It just doesn’t make sense to use him as an every-game fixture when Lombardi has one of the best young quarterbacks in the league at his disposal. When Herbert is 38 and we start to question his arm strength, perhaps then it will be time to revisit this conversation.
Looking into Lombardi’s past provides us some information for how he’ll handle the current quarterback room, but there’s no reason to copy-paste every aspect of the Saints’ offense. Using Hill as the Saints have makes sense for them, but it doesn’t make sense for every other team. This is less about Stick and more about having a young, talented starting quarterback.
No one is talking about taking Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen off the field for a certain amount of snaps every game. We shouldn’t be having that conversation with Justin Herbert either.