Have the Chargers found their next franchise quarterback?

It seems so with the unexpected and impressive debut Justin Herbert had for the Chargers against the defending Super Bowl champs the Kansas City Chiefs. In typical Chargers fashion, they will elect to go back to Tyrod Taylor when he is healthy. I can not even begin to understand or comprehend the reasons why, but I can not say I am genuinely surprised by this decision since the Chargers stopped surprising me a long time ago.

In Taylor’s only start this season which came in week one he seemed to have a hard time getting anything going against one of the NFL’s worst teams last season the Cincinnati Bengals, whose struggles were rewarded with the number one overall pick in the draft Joe Burrow. In my opinion, Burrow outplayed Taylor throughout the entire game. After years of watching Philip Rivers under center be as mobile as a sloth, I was excited to see what a mobile QB could do. After week one I was still waiting to see just that. With lackluster quarterback play, the Chargers still won the game 16-13. Regardless of the win, the team was unimpressive offensively, to say the least.

Taylor would ultimately finish the game going  16/30 for 208 yards with 0 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions. He also had six rush attempts for seven yards.

Fast forward to week two where the Chargers were given the privilege of making their debut at SoFi against the Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs led by Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Then to start the game the unexpected happened, it was not Taylor who came out to take the opening snap it was rookie Justin Herbert, who by the way up until the coin toss did not know he would be starting against the Chiefs. Talk about baptism by fire. My initial thought seeing Herbert start was, “Oh boy, I am in for a long afternoon.” So I poured myself a drink and awaited the impending beat down. To my surprise, Herbert and the Chargers came to play on Sunday. While his lone interception was a real head-scratcher I will give him the benefit of the doubt seeing as it was his first start. Up until that moment, he was playing a great game. In all, it was a great debut for the rookie quarterback out of Oregon in what was ultimately a 23-20 losing effort in overtime.

Herbert finished the game going 22/33 for 311 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also had four rush attempts for 18 yards and a rushing touchdown.

While the Chargers did lose with Herbert under center there is no denying that he also brought a spark and energy to an offense that seemed stuck in neutral the week before. Regardless of Herbert losing in his debut head coach Anthony Lynn needs to realize that Herbert will not be facing the Chiefs on short notice every week. The fact of the matter is Herbert gives you the best shot at winning games on Sunday and this is a franchise that needs to do some winning asap, especially with the new stadium which was more than likely going to be lacking Chargers fans, pandemic or no pandemic. Even after this impressive debut in a losing effort why does Lynn not give some praise to his young Quarterback? Who went toe to toe with the Chiefs and lost by a field goal, that by the way was 58 yards! (shout out to Harrison Butker). 

Why does he insist on keeping Taylor as the starter? Well, the answer to that is quite simple, Lynn is a players coach and Taylor is his guy. It also doesn’t hurt that there is a pre-existing relationship between Lynn and Taylor from their days in Buffalo, which explains why he will give Taylor every opportunity to return to the starting role. This decision could ultimately cost Lynn his job by seasons end. Taylor is not a starting quarterback in this league and he has proven that on multiple occasions look no further than his time with the Browns. Lynn has stated that “Herbert is the backup for a reason.” To that, I say “Taylor was replaced by Baker Mayfield for a reason.” There is no doubt Herbert is the future of this team, and the future is now! #FreeHerbert