After setting several rookie passing records en route to winning offensive rookie of the year, Justin Herbert will have to learn a new playbook for his second season in the league.
But new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley wants to make sure Herbert’s career at least stays on the same upward trajectory, if not improve. To that end, Staley said in a Thursday video conference that he expects offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi to have plenty of concepts Herbert was successful using during the 2020 season.
“I think you’re just trying to establish a comfort zone with Justin,” Staley said. “And certainly there’s a lot of conceptual carryover within a lot of the offenses in the NFL. So our offensive staff being able to kind of translate some of the things maybe from the old staff that this guy was really successful [with] — hey, you guys called it this, we call it that. How did you read out this progression? Could be something as simple as where’s the quarterback location, under [center] or gun — just getting him in that comfort zone, establishing that foundation that’s so important.
“And then him being able to take that ownership of where he’s comfortable and then now with our new staff, how do we bring our offense to life? But that’s what you’re always trying to do. You’re trying to establish a comfort zone with that player. And I know that’s been really important to Joe, myself, and all of our coaches.”
Staley joked he’s learned that Herbert is a little bigger than he thought, the quarterback listed at 6-foot-6 and 237 pounds. But Staley’s also excited about the way Herbert can relate to his teammates and his capacity to learn the offense.
“He’s got a great head on his shoulders, and it’s a great head on his shoulders from a composure, from ability to relate, to be one of the guys — that’s so important,” Staley said. “It’s as important as anything he can do on the field, is to be one of the guys in the locker room. And then his capacity mentally, how sharp he is and how much this game means to him, and how willing he is to work at it. That’s what I’ve enjoyed, getting to meet him in the time spent together.”