Speaking to SI's Albert Breer, Chargers first-year head coach Brandon Staley said that the next step in Herbert's development will be turning him into a coach-level player on the field. To that end, he wants Herbert to be able to operate independently, without waiting for a coach to tell him what to do.
“When they don’t need the coach, when they are the coach, that’s a much more dangerous person to have to defend, because you’re not waiting for the coach to help them," Staley said. "They know how to help themselves. And that’s what I think we’re trying to achieve.”
Given how good Herbert was in just his first year in the NFL, the Chargers are definitely in a better position to take off the training wheels than most teams with young quarterbacks.
As a rookie in 2020, Justin Herbert was thrust into action early after an injury to then-starter Tyrod Taylor in Week 2. Taylor never got the starting job back as Herbert played brilliantly the rest of the way.
Justin Herbert finished his rookie season with 4,331 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and a 66.5-percent completing rate. While his 6-9 record wasn't good enough for head coach Anthony Lynn to keep his job, the team made building around him their offseason priority.
There are likely to be some growing pains for the Chargers this year as Brandon Staley installs his system. But now that they know who their QB is, the hardest part is behind them.
Will Justin Herbert take another big leap forward in 2021?