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After A Standout Rookie Season, Can Justin Herbert Take The Chargers To The Postseason?

Last season was something of a forgettable one for the Los Angeles Chargers, a second consecutive losing season which failed to result in postseason action, and the only real plus point came in the excellent displays of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.

The 23-year-old arrived at the SoFi Stadium outfit as the number six pick in the first round of the draft, and he went on to rack up over 4000 passing yards (a feat only achieved by three previous rookies) and completed 31 touchdown passes, an NFL record, and rushed for five more.

Chargers fans will be wondering if Herbert can once again make an impact in his second season and provide the catalyst for a concerted run this time around.

Should Herbert lead LA to a long postseason run, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the odds with the NFL picture. There you can see a tantalizing +1700 on the AFC title and a slightly less realistic +3300 on the Chargers first Super Bowl title of the modern era.

The instant nature of Herbert’s impact was something many couldn’t have predicted, he made his first appearance in game two of last season, and only because starter Tyrod Taylor suffered a chest injury in the warm-up, the youngster then proceeded to end the game with 311 passing yards, throwing one touchdown and rushing another.

Though the Los Angeles Chargers finished with a 7-9 record, they did finish the campaign with four wins on the bounce, one of them impressively against this year’s favorites Kansas City.

While everything was working well in offense in 2020 the Chargers had a lot to improve in defense and set about that task in the offseason and could be set for a best season since the heady days between 2006 and 2009 when they won the AFC West four years in a row.

There is of course the danger that too much responsibility is being piled onto Herbert’s relatively young shoulders, but the praise he’s received is both warranted and high indeed.

Joe Lombardi, the Chargers’ offensive coordinator, stated recently in relation to Herbert’s football intelligence:

“Very high. He’s a perfectionist. He grinds at it. If he doesn’t quite get everything, there can be some stress with it, but he learns very quickly. Every day, he gets more comfortable.”

Amusingly the myriad of praise hasn’t helped when it comes to the rating applied to Herbert on the new Madden 22 video game, with Herbert being surprisingly humble about his 80 score in the bestselling game.

That score did represent a big jump on the 70 he had ahead of his debut season, but still doesn’t adequately reflect just how impressive the Oregon-born player fared last season.

The Chargers schedule begins with a trip to face the Washington Football Team in what should be quite an even affair before hosting the Dallas Cowboys and then clashing with the Patrick Mahomes-fronted Kansas City Chiefs in week three.

If Herbert and company can come out of these opening games with a positive record, then Brandon Staley’s side could be in business.

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