Justin Herbert

Chargers: Justin Herbert was always better than Joe Burrow

By Sean Basile
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers are fresh off a dominant victory over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, ending recent hotly-contested debates as to which of the two teams had the better quarterback from the 2020 Draft.

For the days leading up to the Week 13 showdown, NFL circles around the country were simmering from the hotness that was the Burrow vs. Herbert debate. But I've got a problem, folks. A very big problem.

Why was this even a debate?

If you know me, and there's little reason why you would know me........ but if you did, you'd know how much I love a good sports debate. Jerry Rice versus T.O. and Randy Moss. Tom Brady versus that toe guy from Green Bay. Bill Belichick vs. the legend Adam Gase. You know, the classics.

But while I will not knock the Bengals for drafting the reigning Heisman winner, national champion, and Ohio native with the first overall pick, call me crazy but I think it's abundantly clear that ever since Justin Herbert stepped onto an NFL field, he has proven he's the better quarterback.

The Chargers Week 13 thrashing proved that Justin Herbert is better than Joe Burrow

Here's the generic reasons why, if you're still unconvinced: Arm strength and arm talent clearly go to Justin.

Pocket presence goes to Justin as well as the bigger, more durable body that holds up under pressure due to the confidence exhibited that the ball can and will come out just as clean as it would in a clean pocket.

That also speaks to Justin as an "intelligent" quarterback who knows he's going to make the right read on a defense almost every time, so all he has to do is stay strong upright and the ball will reach its target.

Justin might also be the most intelligent quarterback in the league outside of Tom Brady. Compare his game to that of a Joe Burrow who still isn't proficient in the art of sliding, which is why his injury risk is at a premium.

Herbert knows how to use his size and athleticism and maximize his output. Not to say Burrow is not an intelligent quarterback, but Justin's knowledge of the game, what some may refer to as "game IQ," is off-the-charts.

For that, I also give him the edge over Joey B in pure athleticism. The thing that made Burrow appear like a better athlete coming out of LSU was that, up until the championship run where his games were seen by the entire college football fan base, it was universally believed that he was a standard pocket-passing quarterback.

So, the soft bigotry of low expectations (man oh man, is that a phrase more people today should learn the meaning of) contributed to the widely-held view that Joe is a much better athlete than Justin.

Finally, I think a lot of quarterback debates can be settled with this argument, but if you were to take Justin Herbert and put him on any other team, the results would not differ as much as they would if you did the same thing to Joe Burrow.

If we look at this Chargers team, outside of Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, I think a fair argument could be made that Justin carries it across the finish line more times than he doesn't.

Meaning, just like the quarterback debate of Russell Wilson vs. that guy with the toe from Green Bay where one has always had pieces around him (and still does today) while the other (Russell Wilson) has elevated just about everyone he's played with, we have Justin who's kind of keeping the ship upright while Burrow has three Pro Bowl-level receivers, an equally-effective run game and a much better coaching staff in Cincy.

Sorry, but it's true.

MORE: The Chargers playoff chances at 7-5

That only makes the argument more convincing, as far as I'm concerned, that Justin not only is the better quarterback of the two, but in due time he could very well wind u[p as the best overall in football.

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