The Los Angeles Chargers may have lost a lot of pieces this offseason, but they also gained a major asset when they hired head coach Jim Harbaugh. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is already loving what Harbaugh is bringing to the table as Herbert enters a crucial juncture in his own career.

“He's a competitor,” Herbert said, via Bridget Condon of NFL Network. “He's a guy that everyone wants to follow and play for.”

Harbaugh certainly experienced considerable success during his first go-around in the NFL from 2011 through 2014, coaching the 49ers to a 49-22-1 record (including postseason) and leading them to a Super Bowl appearance. He also guided San Francisco to a pair of NFC West division titles.

Herbert is already buying into Harbaugh's system and doesn't care how much it affects his statistics.

“If we throw it one time or we throw it 100 times, as long as we're winning and finding ways to do that, it's good with me,” Herbert said, per Condon.

Following his brief stint in the NFL, Harbaugh went back down to the collegiate ranks to coach the University of Michigan. He just led the Wolverines to a national championship this past season before deciding to take his talents back to the pros. He seems amped to get going in Hollywood.

Justin Herbert has a lot to prove for Chargers in 2024

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) hands the ball off as coach Jim Harbaugh watches during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not many people would doubt that Herbert is one of the most talented passers in the league. Harbaugh himself has already raved about the signal-caller. However, some would have questions about his intangibles.

Herbert has gone just 30-32 as a starter since entering the NFL in 2020, leading the Chargers to the playoffs just once during that span. And in that one playoff game, Los Angeles blew a 27-point lead in a devastating loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It also doesn't help that Herbert has sort of regressed over the last couple of years. In his sophomore campaign in 2021, Herbert threw for 5,014 yards, 38 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 65.9 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 97.7 en route to a Pro Bowl appearance.

Since then, he has not looked quite as menacing, and last season, he totaled 3,134 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven picks while completing 65.1 percent of his throws and registering a 93.2 passer rating. He did miss the last four games of the year with a finger injury, but he wasn't exactly his 2021 self prior to that.

Herbert has taken a lot of criticism for not making big plays when it counts and for being unable to elevate the Chargers as a whole. It's certainly not entirely his fault, as Los Angeles hasn't exactly had great defenses to support him, but because he is the quarterback, he will take the brunt of the blame.

Los Angeles lost numerous key weapons this offseason. It subtracted its top two wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Plus, it watched running back Austin Ekeler and tight end Gerald Everett walk in free agency.

That puts even more of an onus on Herbert to step up this coming season. We'll see if Harbaugh can bring the best out of the 26-year-old in 2024.