Former Chargers’ coach Anthony Lynn explains why he didn’t start Justin Herbert in Week 1

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The start of Justin Herbert’s NFL career was about as chaotic as you can possibly make it for a rookie quarterback.

With the clock ticking down before the Los Angeles Chargers’ week 2 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Herbert got word from the coaching staff that he would be starting, following a medical injury to Tyrod Taylor, who reportedly punctured a lung before the game.

So, being thrown into the fire against the reigning NFL MVP, Herbert was asked to step up. He didn’t disappoint, going 22-for-33 for 311 yards, throwing 1 touchdown and 1 interception in a 23-20 loss. The rest is history, as the Chargers stuck with Herbert and rode him to a promising season that saw the former Duck win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

But if Herbert was so good in his first game, why did it take the Chargers until Week 2 to actually deploy him? Well, former Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn recently explained his reasoning on the Compas on the Beat podcast:

I did not want to expose him too soon. I’ve seen what that has done to some top picks — especially at the quarterback position. And how sometimes, those young men never recover because they’re living in a day and age where the media is just right there. I mean, social media, and things spread, and some of these kids are just not mentally strong enough to overcome a lot of the negative vibes that they get early in their careers. I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at the quarterback position.

But Justin had to go in and play. We didn’t have any choice. Tyrod [Taylor] got his lungs punctured. Justin found out as the ball was literally in the air — I’m grabbing Justin saying, ‘You’re the starter.’ And the way he handled that situation, I tell you what, he couldn’t have handled it any better.

Now, after his dynamic rookie season, the spotlight is on Herbert, who will be playing under yet another new coaching staff, this time led by Brandon Staley.

If what we saw in 2020, and his years before that at Oregon, are any indication, the next several years are going to be incredibly fun to watch.

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