After quarterback Justin Herbert earned offensive rookie of the year at NFL Honors, the Chargers have plenty of reason to be excited about his future.
New head coach Brandon Staley was the Rams’ defensive coordinator last year, but one of his most important tasks will be keeping Herbert’s development on the same upward trajectory. While the on-field work with Herbert can’t start for another month, Staley told Albert Breer of SI.com he’s learned in the early months of his tenure that Los Angeles’ players have a lot of faith in the young QB.
“This guy’s done a lot for this team,” Staley said. “The way they talk about him, the respect that he’s earned, it’s just one of those things. These guys know he gives you a chance in every single game that you play. He’s earned that respect in such a short time, and there’s still such a long way to go. I’m excited about that.”
Staley added he thinks Herbert earned that respect by fully immersing himself in the locker room.
“He’s one of the guys. I think that’s the best compliment you can give a quarterback,” Staley said. “It’s the position I played and when you can earn the respect of your teammates because they think you’re just one of the guys then, even though everyone knows he’s a top pick, a franchise quarterback, one of the elite young players in the league, for the players to talk about his work ethic, and that he’s not manufactured, that he doesn’t try to do too much, he’s just himself, that’s awesome. He’s got a lot of humility, a really good work ethic, just a great head on his shoulders, and that’s what players respect. They respect you if you’re a good dude and you’re a good player. That’s what people are attracted to. He’s just got a refreshing way that attracts him to all different shapes and sizes, all different ages.”
It doesn’t hurt that Herbert set several rookie passing records during his impressive first season, finishing with 4,336 yards passing, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions as well as 234 yards rushing with five running TDs. Time will tell if Herbert can become one of the league’s elite quarterbacks, but he undoubtedly got off to a good start in 2020.