NFL coaches rarely are as blunt as Anthony Lynn was Monday. The Chargers boss came out and said Justin Herbert isn’t ready to start full time in the NFL.
He’s not sold even after the rookie quarterback played like a starter in place of Tyrod Taylor (chest, ribs), who was a late scratch Sunday.
“I thought he came in and gave us a chance to win,” Lynn said in a briefing with reporters (per The Athletic, subscription required). “But there’s a lot that you don’t know. There’s a lot that we didn’t get done with Justin on the field (Sunday). He’s a backup for a reason. He’s a rookie and there’s a lot that he needs to learn about this game.”
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Fair enough. Herbert sabotaged his team with a bad interception. But here’s a question: What part of “completed 66.7 percent of his passes, averaged 9.4 yards per attempt and had just the one turnover and two sacks in 79 snaps in his first professional action, all against the reigning Super Bowl champs” does Lynn not understand?
“I think he’s going to be an outstanding quarterback. But I want to put him out there when I know he’s ready,” Lynn added, per The Athletic.
Lynn will put Taylor back out there as soon as he’s healed from the chest ailment, which reportedly was a reaction to an injection just prior to kickoff to treat the rib injury. But let’s be blunt ourselves: Herbert looked ready to compete and he earned another start Sunday at home vs. the 0-2 Panthers even if Taylor recovers in time.
Consecutive visits to Tampa and New Orleans after next weekend wouldn’t be ideal for his development, but he just executed a conservative game plan on the fly against a team that’s hellbent on repeating. SN’s Vinnie Iyer has more on how Herbert succeeded in keeping Kansas City’s offense off the field. You would expect Lynn and the coaches to devise similar plans against the NFC South’s best.
The Chiefs, The Athletic noted, were short-handed on defense and weren’t ready to face Herbert after having prepared for Taylor all week, but to be blunt again: If Herbert really wasn’t up to executing consistently, then Steve Spagnuolo’s defense would have figured out how to shut him down, no matter the personnel. Instead, Herbert and the Chargers put up 479 total yards and 20 points.
If Lynn is hellbent on winning games and keeping his job, and he is, then he needs to suspend his loyalty to Taylor and ride Herbert another game or two with LA at 1-1. He should have noticed that the kid looks as capable as the vet of grinding out wins.