Justin Herbert has turned out to be the long-time answer under center for the Los Angeles Chargers. But despite getting it right by selecting Herbert sixth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft (just after the Miami Dolphins took Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall), the Chargers have yet to make the NFL Playoffs in the two years that he has been the team's starting quarterback, in large part because of the team's leaky defense.
What's even more alarming for the Chargers is that they seem to be following the same disappointing trajectory of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, as pointed out by Mike Sando of The Athletic:
“Brees won 45 percent of his starts from 2014-16 despite ranking fourth, fifth and seventh in ESPN’s Total QBR, respectively. His Saints offense ranked first in expected points added (EPA) over that run, according to TruMedia. Herbert won 47 percent of his starts over the past two seasons despite ranking 13th and third in QBR for an offense that ranked sixth in EPA over that span. The culprit: terrible defense and/or special teams. Brees’ Saints ranked 32nd in combined EPA on defense and special teams from 2014-16. Herbert’s Chargers rank 30th over the past two seasons.”
So far in his NFL career, Herbert, an Oregon Ducks football product, with 9,350 passing yards and 69 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, while completing 66.2 percent of pass attempts.
However, the Chargers' stop unit could finally be on the verge of turning it all around. After a season in which Los Angeles ranked fifth with 27.9 points per game but 29th with 27.0 points surrendered per contest, they traded for star linebacker Khalil Mack to give the team arguably the scariest 1-2 pass rushing duo in the NFL, with Joey Bosa also still on the roster. Moreover, the Chargers plugged more talent into its secondary with cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Bryce Callahan acquired in May.
That could be just the help Justin Herbert needs to get the Chargers over the hump.
Herbert and the Chargers are scheduled to open their 2022 NFL season schedule at home against Derek Carr and Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 11.