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Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, a former 4.0 student, ready to study new offense

Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, a former 4.0 student, ready to study new offense


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Justin Herbert always wanted to know the why and how about the sector around him. 

It ran in the family. Both his grandfather and father had been biologists, so the young Herbert felt drawn to natural-science studies at some level of his formative years and academic career.

“It apt explained how all the pieces labored,” Herbert, coming off his first season as quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers, told USA TODAY Sports activities. “All the pieces you survey around you has a reason, and whether or no longer it’s how you breathe or how your cells work together, it’s always been really fascinating.”

The thirst for answers drove Herbert in the classroom thru faculty, the place as a three-time Academic All-American, he graduated from Oregon with a stage in biology and a 4.01 grade-level average. Nevertheless he credits his parents’ emphasis on academics and cultivating his mental makeup for his success on the football field. 

The 6-foot-6, 241-pound quarterback clearly possesses exceptional physical talent.

After taking over as the Chargers’ starter in Week 2, he orchestrated a rookie of the year campaign that saw him break NFL rookie information for probably the most passing yards (4,336), passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396).

Nevertheless the mental power – learning and reacting like a flash, poise, preparedness – ultimately elevated Herbert. As he aims to practice up that spectacular rookie campaign with an offseason of notify, despite a wave of organizational change, he’ll have to lean heavily on his studious habits. 

A new crew

The offseason following a rookie year traditionally represents a crucial developmental length for quarterbacks. Nevertheless out of doors of the experiences gained from playing this past season, Herbert will have very minute continuity to acquire upon in Year 2. Instead, he need to employ this time learning a new coaching staff, a new offense and new terminology. 

Nevertheless, Herbert views his budding relationships with new head coach Brandon Staley with excitement, and views the 38-year-faded coach’s unconventional background as an asset. 

(Staley started two seasons at quarterback for the College of Dayton from 2003-04 prior to getting into coaching, and he landed his first head-coaching job apt four years after breaking into the NFL ranks as a defensive assistant. He served as the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020 prior to the crosstown Chargers employed him as head coach in January.)

“He’s been awesome so far,” Herbert said. “… He’s a defensive coach, nonetheless he also played quarterback so he is aware of both side of the ball, so whether or no longer I want to talk to him about offense or protection, he’s acquired a great feel for the game.”

Last season, COVID-19 restrictions robbed NFL teams, and learners in particular, of the traditional offseason preparation. To make up for misplaced time, Herbert – who entered training camp and the regular season as the backup to Tyrod Taylor – spent additional time with then-quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton out of doors of practice to greater learn the offense.

The goal “was to prepare as in case you’re the starting quarterback, and that’s one thing that coach Pep Hamilton and I all for. We’d be out on the sector prior to practice, after practice, walking thru the plays, walking thru the footwork, mechanics, all the pieces you may judge about, so if and when I did have to scamper in, I’d be ready,” Herbert said.

As with biology, the extra Herbert studied the Chargers’ playbook and defenses, he gained an understanding of the reasons why and how things labored in the NFL. 

“You understand why it’s happening, why they’re doing that,” he said. “Why certain teams play certain fronts. Why they carry these pressures … In case you’re up at the line of scrimmage, it has to be so rapidly. It apt needs to be understood immediately. There’s no time to sit back and judge.”

Lessons from a blowout

Herbert persevered highs and lows all thru the Chargers’ 7-9 campaign. Nevertheless one among his greatest sources of encouragement facilities around his most challenging rookie experience: The Week 13 45-0 blowout loss at home against New England. 

That game represented the entirely shutout Herbert can ever be aware all thru his playing career on any level. He threw two interceptions and achieved a season-low 49% of his passes. 

Reflecting on that, Herbert said, “It’s apt one among this stuff you have to pass on past. Adversity is going to happen and you’re going to throw interceptions and incompletions. It’s all about the next play, next drive, next sequence, next game.”

Then came the response Herbert and the Chargers take satisfaction in. They reeled off four consecutive victories to conclude out the season. Herbert led a fourth-quarter comeback and directed game-winning drives in three of these four wins. 

That stretch hasten cemented NFL offensive rookie of the year honors for Herbert. His play and the accolades helped extra raise his profile. He no longer too lengthy ago joined Carolina Panthers working back Christian McCaffrey, country song artist Dierks Bentley and NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney as ambassadors for the upstart apparel company Flag & Anthem.

After taking a few weeks off to allow his physique to get better, he has ramped up his training program. While waiting to receive the Chargers’ new playbook from offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who beforehand served as the Saints’ quarterback coach, Herbert is studying New Orleans’ offense in hopes of getting a preview.

It’s seemingly, and maybe even seemingly, that NFL teams will no longer have offseason practices this year, meaning Herbert’s Year 2 on-field work will have to take place on his bear and unsupervised. 

As any individual who calm loves to learn, Herbert expects to manage. 

Practice USA TODAY Sports activities’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones and pay attention to the Football Jones podcast on iTunes.


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Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, a former 4.0 student, ready to study new offense