With the Denver Broncos losing their first game of the season on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the Las Vegas Raiders could be in sole possession of the No. 1 seed in the AFC West. Standing in their way are the Los Angeles Chargers, coming off a huge win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers are usually a solid team but could be hitting the next level if quarterback Justin Herbert continues to look like an elite quarterback.
So far, 2020’s Offensive Rookie of the Year looks like his first year wasn’t a fluke. He’s thrown for 956 and six touchdowns through three games, leading the Chargers to a 2-1 record. Though they’ve only played against each other twice, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has a bit of insight on Herbert.
“He’s very poised, very athletic, big arm,” Carr said, via Chargers.com. “I think he has a bright future ahead of him … I like him, he’s always been awesome. From what I hear he’s a super, super nice, humble guy. The times I’ve been around him he’s been super humble, and it’s been a joy for those moments. I know people that know him, and they love him, and I appreciate that about him. He’s definitely a heck of a player and hopefully for his sake will be for a long time.”
Carr will certainly be getting to know Herbert very well over the next several years. The Chargers quarterback could be around for a very long time if he keeps playing at a high level. While it sounds like Carr is rooting for the young quarterback, it could be bad news for the Raiders as they already have to deal with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs twice a year for the next decade.
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Gus Bradley Talks Facing Herbert
Monday’s matchup should be very interesting for the Raiders. It will be the first time that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will be facing his former team since heading to Las Vegas. He spent four years leading the Chargers’ defense and was around for Herbert’s rookie season. Bradley had a chance to detail the unique ability that the quarterback brings to the table.
“We’ve faced really different styles of quarterbacks,” Bradley said. “He’s kind of a combination now. He’s big, tall, strong, very accurate, completion percentage is high, quarterback rating is high. He doesn’t get rattled much, is very, very good against the pressure. Can run when needed, extends plays looks downfield to make big plays. Receivers know him and they understand that part of it. We got a lot of respect for him now.”
There’s no question that Herbert has the best arm of any quarterback they’ve faced this season. The Raiders’ pass defense has played well thus far but is in for their stiffest challenge yet.
Jon Gruden Takes Not of Herbert’s Scrambling Ability
Though Herbert is massive at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds, he can be mobile when he needs to. He had 235 rushing yards last season with five rushing touchdowns. The Raiders pass rush has been improved but head coach Jon Gruden knows that it’s not a simple task to get after Herbet.
“It’s hard to just unleash the rush on this guy because they allow him to scramble, he will scramble, he will hurt you bad,” Gruden said. “If you don’t protect the pocket and you have a lot of coverage down the field against [Mike] Williams and Keenan [Allen] and all their weapons, this guy will put the ball down and he’ll really hurt you bad running. We got hurt last week with some scramble plays so we gotta be careful with our rush, we gotta do a great job containing him first, getting to him second and getting him on the ground third which is not easy to do. This is a big, strong, young, tough quarterback.”