It’s unclear why Lynn has staunchly refused to make Herbert the starter, given that Herbert had an incredible performance with literally a moment’s notice on Sunday against the Chiefs. Beyond the statistical showing — he matched only Otto Graham and Cam Newton with 300 passing yards and a rushing touchdown for their debut games — Herbert looks the part, convincingly.
Herbert can throw lasers and thread needles, as evidenced by his touchdown pass to receiver Jalen Guyton. Herbert can run the ball, as evidenced by the extra gear he found when turning the corner on his four-yard touchdown run. Herbert has the moves, as evidenced by a fake pitch that froze Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark before Herbert cut inside with the ball for an 11-yard gain. Herbert has power, as evidenced by his Sean Taylor-style lowering of the boom on Chiefs linebacker Damion Wilson.
Herbert also has hustle (which he displayed in college). Late in the first half, as running back Austin Ekeler broke free for a gain deep in Kansas City territory, Herbert sprinted toward the action, like a basketball player crashing the boards in search of a right-place, right-time opportunity to grab the ball and slam it through the hoop. Whether there had been a block to make or a fumble to recover or an opportunity for Ekeler to lateral the ball while being tackled, Herbert did something few quarterbacks do. (Whether quarterbacks should do that is a different issue, given the possibility of being blown up, sir.)
“I know we can win with either quarterback, but the veteran quarterback right now gives us the best chance to win,” Lynn said Monday. “And it’s not like we won the damn game yesterday. We lost, last time I checked.”
Last time I checked, they lost the damn game because Lynn decided not to trust his offense to convert a fourth and one in overtime, opting instead to give the ball to Patrick Mahomes.
If the Chargers want to be as good as they can be as soon as they can be, the quarterback needs to be Herbert. It’s obvious to those on the outside, and it will become obvious to those on the inside.
Maybe Lynn is simply being respectful to Taylor, while also trying to keep Herbert from getting a big head. Maybe when Lynn says Taylor will play when he’s “healthy,” Lynn intends to say that Taylor simply hasn’t recovered from a punctured lung due to a painkilling injection unless and until Herbert hits a rough patch.
Regardless, Herbert is the future. Given the way he played in Week Two, Herbert needs to be the present.