Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines the vertical prowess and pocket management of Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
Justin Herbert deserves a ton of praise for his early performance, especially after making an unplanned debut last month. Herbert is a massive reason why this Chargers offense is a competitive and dangerous unit that can flip the field with any receiver L.A. trots out there.
The fact that Herbert has delivered big plays to Donald Parham, Jalen Guyton, and Tyron Johnson should not be taken lightly, because opposing defenses have heard it loud and clear: Herbert not only trusts his big-play weapons to win the ball in tight coverage, but he also finds the open man and has no reservations about targeting them.
Herbert’s anticipation, manipulation of safeties, downfield accuracy, and willingness to take a hit to make the throw have been assets so far. None of this is surprising if watching his perimeter vertical game at Oregon.
What has been a pleasant shock is Herbert’s improvement with maneuvering the pocket. A quarterback once known for running away from pressure and lacking the control to reset and fire an accurate pass as well as retreating or flushing from the rush, Herbert has been climbing the pocket as well as exhibiting other maneuvers to slide and fire with efficiency.
When asked “what has been a ‘wow’ moment for you in the NFL,” usually a rookie will list an area where he has struggled. Herbert mentioned stepping up in the pocket, and it’s unusual for a mediocre pocket prospect to improve this fast in this area.
I’m excited about Herbert’s prospects. After watching this short analysis, I think you’ll see two reasons why.
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