L.A. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has, so far, made a seamless and often flashy transition to the pro ranks in spite of a shortened offseason and lack of training camp.
The Denver Broncos can feature in his rookie highlight reel Sunday. Coach Vic Fangio said Herbert has looked very comfortable and praised the L.A. coaches for incorporating “some stuff he ran in college.”
“Ultimately this guy’s just very talented,” Fangio said. “It looks to me like he’s made up of the right stuff to be a quarterback in the NFL. Fortunate for them, and unfortunate for us, I think they’ve found their quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years.”
Herbert was drafted sixth overall out of Oregon earlier this year. He had at least three touchdowns in each game in October to just one interception. His NFL-best passer rating of 122.2 is also an October all-time best among rookies with at least 50 passing attempts.
Herbert was named the NFL offensive rookie of the month for October on Thursday. He’s coming off an effort in which he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns plus ran for another, the first NFL rookie quarterback to do so according to the Chargers.
The Broncos’ own young quarterback is under scrutiny after a lackluster performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. Drew Lock hasn’t challenged for league awards in another injury-interrupted season.
“He’s still a very young quarterback, and he will be through this full season,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “He’s only played in six or seven games; I think people forget that.”
Two young quarterbacks on 2-4 teams will try to live up to the hype Sunday afternoon.
“I think he doesn’t let himself drag himself down,” Fangio said of Lock. “I think he plays the next play and the next game with the same confidence and energy that he would if things were going much, much better.”
Before leaving California, the Chargers had their first confirmed positive COVID-19 test since training camp opened. Offensive lineman Ryan Groy, who has started three games this season, began self-quarantine and the contact tracing process was initiated, according to a Chargers release.
Meetings were held virtually and coach Anthony Lynn cancelled practice.
Fangio said the Broncos will keep going as scheduled until told otherwise. He guessed, based on limited information, that the game would not be impacted.
As far as the Broncos’ own COVID concerns, offensive line coach Mike Munchak is in the protocol and could be gone as long as 10 games, but it could be less, according to Fangio. He added Munchak wasn’t in close enough proximity for long enough with any other staff member to warrant growing the list.
Kareem Jackson arrived for his Zoom call in a full face shield, which he said is required in the training room. He said protocols are “a little crazy right now.”
“But they’re all in the name of trying to keep everyone safe,” Jackson said. “For us, as a team, I think we’ve been doing a great job of trying to follow these protocols and doing the right thing just so we can all be safe.”
Running back Phillip Lindsay, who’s in concussion protocol, was a part of non-contact drills and may partake in some phases of practice tomorrow, as is allowed. Wide receivers Tim Patrick (hamstring) and Diontae Spencer (shoulder) did not practice. Patrick told Fangio he was feeling better than the day before.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Fangio said.
Tackle Demar Dotson and defensive end Shelby Harris returned to practice as full participants.