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Is Chargers QB Justin Herbert a winner? – Daily News



COSTA MESA — Demand to speak to the manager. Start a petition. Shoot, write a letter to the editor.

Juster Herbert ranked seventh!?

Well, OK. The six quarterbacks ranked ahead of the Chargers’ prolific passer in ESPN’s July 11th survey of 50 NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players are on the distinguished side. Just Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, as well as the most recent Super Bowl opponents Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford.

Still, some Chargers fans felt perturbed that the 24-year-old Herbert fell, ahem, all the way to seventh in that particular poll.

Otherwise, Herbert’s name floated even closer to the top of just about every one of the preseason best-of lists, inevitably inconsequential red meat served annually to a football-starved audience as it awaited the opening of training camps. And then, whatever feats of derring-do the former Oregon Duck performs after the season opens Sept. 11 against Las Vegas.

Already Herbert was the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year and a 2021 Pro Bowler, and he threw for more touchdowns (69) and yards (9,350) than any QB with at least 600 pass attempts in his first two seasons.

Whether those credentials make him a top-three guy, top five or top seven likely depends on how you behold another metric: wins and losses.

Herbert has a career 15-17 record as a starter and hasn’t yet taken a playoff snap.

For what it’s worth.

Does the quarterback think it’s fair to judge a quarterback on wins and losses (especially if, say, that quarterback’s team allowed 27 points per game last season, third-most in the league)?

“I think it’s a team game, and as long as we’re playing the Chargers vs. any team, that’s what matters most,” Herbert said on Wednesday, when he allowed that “it’s an offense, defense and special teams game that goes into it. You can definitely look at that, I think. But for the most part, it’s all about the team.”

This season, there are great expectations of his team. Even in the gauntlet that is the AFC West.

The Bolts should be improved defensively after adding former New England cornerback J.C. Jackson and acquiring former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack in a trade with Chicago.

And to keep Herbert healthy, they continued to invest in fortifying their offensive line, drafting Boston College’s Zion Johnson – probably the best interior offensive lineman in this year’s class – 17th overall. (Asked to predict how the 6-foot-3, 316-pound Johnson will fit in, Herbert deadpanned: “Hopefully at right guard.”)

Another key addition: Continuity.

In Coach Brandon Staley’s second season at the helm, running a recognizable offense ought to be “a major advantage,” said Herbert, who, remember, found out he was starting for the first time in 2020 just seconds before taking the field against the then-defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. He promptly orchestrated an eight-play, 79-yard opening drive that ended with his 4-yard rushing touchdown.

“We’re miles ahead of where we were at this point last year,” Herbert said Wednesday, when, with a few back-to-business beads of sweat on his brow, he assured reporters at Jack Hammett Sports Complex that he and his teammates are neither feeling pressure nor stewing over last season’s heartbreak.



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