Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert takes Go Long to the next level in the NFL

By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFL writer

Simply gas.

Throwing guru Tom House described how Justin Herbert threw a football for the first time during his predraft workout in Orange County ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

House is a former Major League pitching coach who has moved on to improving the throwing motion of NFL quarterbacks in the past decade. He’s worked with major leaguers like Jacob deGrom and NFL greats like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, so he knows a thing or two about arm speed. House remembered Nolan Ryan in his prime watching the 6-foot, 6,237-pound Herbert throw fastballs.

The night before House drove from San Diego to the 3DQB facility in Huntington Beach for Herbert’s first training session, a humming Adam Dedeaux, a coach at 3DQB, told House on the phone, “You won’t believe the ball coming out? that child’s hand. ”

Like Dedeaux, House Herbert’s training left Herbert’s training baffled not only by his physical abilities but also by his mental state, saying he had the “it” factor that elite competitors possess.

“They were already training when I came up,” said House. “Of course he’s a big kid. And they were absolutely right about him. The ball that comes out is special. It’s a solid spin rate that’s like baseball. You can stand next to a guy who’s 100 miles throws per hour, and you can hear the ball leave that hand and spin until it hits the catcher’s glove. It’s the same with a guy like this young man. His spin rate and arm strength / speed are special.

“A young Joe Flacco is the only one I can remember seeing that kind of arm speed and arm strength combined. You can literally hear the ball leave his hand.”

Chris Harris Jr. on Justin Herbert:

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. meets with Colin Cowherd to discuss the growth and development of quarterback Justin Herbert. Harris compares Herbert to Peyton Manning and outlines the similarities and differences between the two QBs.

Herbert, now 23, used his elite arm strength well in his first two years in the NFL and quickly became one of the best deep ball passers in the game.

With the Chargers sitting at 8-5 and hosting AFC West rivals Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) at SoFi Stadium on Thursday (8:20 p.m. ET on FOX), Herbert’s big games have him in the MVP conversation catapulted the home straight this season. He’s fourth in the NFL in passing yards (3,822) and third in touchdowns (30).

According to Next Gen Stats, he leads the league with 10 deals on passes that have traveled more than 55 yards of flight distance since being drafted in 2020. He also leads the league on 70-yard touchdown passes (three) and 50-yard pass results (seven) since joining the NFL.

The Oregon product set a rookie record with 31 touchdown passes in 2020, and it has already thrown 30 pass touchdowns this season. He is the only player in league history to throw 30 or more TDs in each of his first two NFL seasons.

But it’s Herbert’s absurd low-pass ability that caught the interest of NFL watchers.

Late in the first half of his team’s 37:21 win over the New York Giants last week, Herbert once again flaunted his impressive arm strength.

To get his team into the field goal position, Herbert moved in 3rd and 11th place from the Chargers’ 41 yard line to his right outside the pocket to make room for another downfield lift to Jalen Guyton start for a score and a hit from Giants pass rusher Lorenzo Carter as he released the ball.

According to Next Gen Stats, Herbert’s alien throw traveled 63.8 meters in the air, making it the second longest degree in the league this year.

Justin Herbert airs it to Jalen Guyton for a 59 yard touchdown

Justin Herbert finds Jalen Guyton for a 59-yard touchdown for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Herbert doesn’t know how far he can throw it.

“I haven’t really tested it,” he told reporters after beating New York. “But however far that was, I think that’s a good answer right here.”

Fox Sports NFL analyst Geoff Schwartz was amazed at the throw – but not surprised. The former NFL offensive lineman and the University of Oregon product had seen Herbert make “wow” throws in college when he was given an opportunity on the Ducks Conservative Offensive.

“One of my thoughts was, ‘Damn it, why didn’t we see this in Oregon?'” Schwartz said. “‘Where was that in college?’ But that’s the Oregon fan I am, it was amazing.

“I saw this in Oregon, but the problem is it didn’t happen very often. Their offensive wasn’t designed to make throws like that. So you only saw it when it was third and eighth.” , and Oregon said, “Just try to save us. Just be Justin Herbert.” It just wasn’t a big part of their offensive. … What I’ve always said is that if you gave him an offense that puts him through with NFL players, you would see this player. “

Herbert was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 275 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants, winning the award for the third time this season.

Drew Brees joins Colin on explaining what makes Chargers QB Justin Herbert so special to I THE HERD

Drew Brees joins Colin Cowherd to analyze the growth and development of quarterback Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers and to analyze why he is years ahead of traditional development at his age.

Aside from his impressive stats and stature, Herbert’s ability to make deep passes with the utmost accuracy stands out among his peers, and Charger’s head coach Brandon Staley has done it time and again with him in training and games.

“When you see something special, it usually looks easy,” said Staley. “That’s what he does. He makes the really, really challenging things look easy. That’s a pretty good indicator that you’re witnessing something rare.

“He is capable of that. The more I am with him, the less I am surprised. “

Rob Rang, FOX Sports NFL draft analyst, notes that Herbert’s physical prowess coupled with elite arm strength and field awareness were evident in his deep ball accuracy during his four years in Oregon.

“No. 1, he’s got a big arm,” said Rank. “And then he always showed excellent accuracy. I don’t know if his numbers were a true measure of how accurate he was because Oregon was plagued by drops during his time there, including the Deep Ball.

“So I don’t think the numbers back it up, but he’s been able to hit guys pretty consistently one game with the ball. It’s a combination of arm strength, accuracy and then the awareness and vision of being a bigger quarterback too be who has a good view to take the ball where he wants to put it. “

Along with these traits, the Chargers surrounded Herbert with playmakers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and they designed the talented left tackle Rashawn Slater to protect Herbert’s blindside.

Now in its fifth NFL season, Williams has made a name for himself as a big play threat in the NFL. The Clemson product has seven league-leading receptions of over 40 yards this season, and its 19 catches of over 40 yards since 2018 ranks second in the NFL.

Williams said he had to adjust to Herbert’s big arm and athleticism from a cerebral Philip Rivers throwing with accuracy and anticipation.

“The first time I saw Justin throw the ball was very different from when I had Phil,” said Williams. “He could throw the ball deeper into the field so I felt like I had to run a little faster. He kind of tossed it in the bucket and made it easier for us.

“He has a fantastic arm. With every pass in the deep part of the field, he has the chance to make the throw – regardless of whether he has pressure on him or whatever the case. We feel that he has the arm strength and the strength to bring the ball to us. Every route is alive. “

Colin Cowherd: Justin Herbert is what a franchise quarterback looks like I THE HERD

Colin Cowherd explains how Justin Herbert has everything the Los Angeles Chargers could want in a quarterback, and Cowherd is very impressed.

Former NFL offensive guru Mike Martz, the architect of The Greatest Show on Turf, which won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams, said one of the reasons Herbert is so accurate on the field is his ability to to spin the soccer ball. Martz said when evaluating the first-round quarterbacks for the 2020 draft, he put Herbert out as the best QB, ahead of the first overall pick, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, picked No. 5 overall by the Miami Dolphins Herbert in 6th place.

“It puts the ball where the receiver needs to chase it,” said Mike Martz. “He doesn’t give the defender a chance to interfere, which is unusual. Russell Wilson is like that. Obviously Aaron Rodgers can. Guys who can use a lot of spin are more accurate and he has great spin.” the ball.

“So he keeps it out where the recipient needs to grab it and go instead of slowing it down a bit. He is unique. There was no one like him at the Chargers. He’s elite in the league in terms of ability to throw football – period. He was blessed with all his abilities. “

House expects Herbert’s rare ability to take football deep to make him one of the NFL’s top passers-by year after year. But Herbert still has to prove that he can make these dynamic throws when it matters: in the postseason.

“It’s a gift,” said House. “But it’s a gift that you have to cultivate and work on. And he absolutely does. That kind of genetic arm strength and arm speed is something like, why is there a Nolan Ryan or a Jake deGrom? has these kind of tools out there, but what he can do is turn those tools into a presence that is not only timely but also accurate.

“If he stays healthy he’ll create his own blanket. Physically, he has the same type of arm or accuracy as Tom Brady. But he’s bigger and stronger and starts earlier.”

Eric D. Williams has been reporting on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN, and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune.

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