Against the Raiders in Week 1, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert continued to play the game and his position at the highest level. In another brilliant performance, Herbert finished with 26 completions on 34 attempts (76.5%) for 279 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no turnovers while averaging 8.2 yards per attempt.
It’s not just his production, which is evident, but it’s his ball-security fundamentals in and out of the pocket, the unmatched precision of his footwork, his quick decision-making ability, arm talent, accuracy and his calmness during the chaos of the game that makes Herbert one of the best in the NFL at his position.
He is unphased by pressure in the pocket and has the athleticism to escape right or left with his head up while making explosive and accurate throws to either side of the field.
As we saw in Week 1, there are other quarterbacks who are just as productive. Yet in a league of so many quality signal-callers, no one does it in textbook fashion like Herbert.
What I appreciate most in his game is the precise footwork he shows in the pocket. With deep play-action passes, he is patient and comfortable moving on in his progression and kicking the ball out in rhythm to his flare-control RB.
In the dropback game, he is meticulous with his drops and shows precise timing to move on to secondary and flare control receivers. He is consistently “listening” to his feet – trusting the concept, his reads and progressions, and the coaching that has gone into it.
Against the Raiders, Herbert had some incredibly brilliant throws, including this bullet across the middle while dropping to a knee.
Here Herbert climbs the pocket and throws a dime 40 yards upfield on a crossing pattern between two defenders.
Scrambling to his left, Herbert delivers a sidearm back-shoulder throw for a touchdown.
Here Herbert throws a beautifully timed drop and laser 25 yards up the seam for a score.
Herbert shows the inherent ability to feel pressure, be unfazed by it and slide to find a quiet launch point to deliver the ball or exit the pocket left or right and explosively and accurately deliver passes on or off balance.
His performance to start the season is certainly not unexpected. This is the first glimpse of Herbert’s second year with offensive coordinator (and former Saints QB coach) Joe Lombardi and QB coach Shane Day. Both assistants have done a tremendous job training him.
Many well-educated football people have said many great things about Herbert during the past two years. Sunday’s tape continues to validate all of it.
Lombardi has orchestrated a symphony of movement and play-action, mixing quick-game, RPOs and up-the-field passes and changing the QB’s launch point, all while maintaining a meticulous dropback game, which I believe Justin Herbert executes as well as anyone in the NFL.