Reading Time: 2 minutes

Will Justin Herbert take the next step in 2021? 


This seems to be the biggest question in the Chargers offseason.


The 6th overall pick out of Oregon had a stellar rookie campaign, putting up 4,336 yards, 31 Touchdowns, and just 10 Interceptions en-route to earning 2020 Rookie Offensive Player of the Year honors. Looking to add to his success, Herbert will have to take the next step in Los Angeles. 


While the Chargers finished with a measly 7-9 record, many games were very close losses. The Chargers lost seven games by eight points or less, showing promise and potential. Could it mean that the “next step” may be closer than people think?


The Chargers organization has hinted that they believe the next step is close – with the hire of former Rams DC Brandon Staley as Head Coach, the Chargers are committed to building a winning culture. Staley, who is a young and respected coach, will immediately bring fresh energy into the Chargers organization. Staley immediately improved the Rams defense in his lone year on the other side of LA, and he will certainly try to bring that attitude with the Chargers.


Circling back to Herbert, the Chargers went out of their way to help out the quarterback by hiring former Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi as OC. If there is anything to talk about when examining the hire of Lombardi, it’s easy to point towards the success Lombardi enjoyed with the future Hall-of-Fame QB Drew Brees. Additionally, Lombardi has worked with Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston, two quarterbacks that have attempted to rebound their respective careers. Both Bridgewater and Winston did well when they were called upon under Lombardi.


Bringing Lombardi to the Chargers not only goes along with the winning culture that is being established at Los Angeles – it points towards the committed long-term goal of developing Herbert into an All-Pro Quarterback. It points towards Herbert taking the next step. Lombardi will attempt to bring his previous offensive success at New Orleans to Herbert.


Herbert has already established himself as a solid QB. If Herbert takes the next step, he would immediately solidify himself as a premier quarterback in the NFL, and a potential dark-horse MVP candidate. Herbert is almost there. If the Chargers’ plans work out, We could soon see Herbert making a name for himself.


Nov 23, 2018; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) walks onto the field during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports