Why Bill Belichick was quick to praise Chargers’ Justin Herbert, calling QB a ‘very talented player’

Justin Herbert continues to rewrite the NFL record books for rookie quarterbacks, becoming just the second player in NFL history to have thrown for at least 3,000 passing yards in his first 10 starts (Patrick Mahomes is the other). Herbert has made the Los Angeles Chargers a must-watch every week, completing 66.9% of his passes for 3,015 yards for 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions (100.9 rating) in just 10 games. 

The Chargers are just 2-8 in Herbert’s 10 starts, but that’s no fault of the quarterback. As Herbert prepares to make his first start against the New England Patriots this week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was quick to compliment the rookie of the year candidate — who the Patriots evaluated in the pre-draft process. 

“Yeah, he’s impressive – very talented player, tall, sees things well, has a good arm, can certainly make all the throws. He’s athletic, can escape the pocket, smart,” Belichick said Tuesday. “They do a number of things at the line of scrimmage – you’ve seen him check plays, audible against pressure, change plays against check-with-me type situations.”

Herbert is just the 22nd quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 yards in his rookie season and is averaging 301.5 passing yards per game — the most for a first-year player in NFL history. He is on pace to throw for 4,522 yards, which would pass Andrew Luck for the most passing yards in a rookie season (4,374). Herbert is only five touchdown passes away from passing Baker Mayfield (27) for the most passing touchdowns in a rookie season in league history. Herbert also has the third-highest passer rating for a rookie in NFL history at 100.9 — only Dak Prescott (104.9) and Robert Griffin III (102.4) finished with a higher passer rating (minimum 300 attempts).

Belichick has been impressed with what he’s seen from Herbert thus far, citing his improvements as a passer from early in the season. Herbert has thrown seven touchdowns to just two interceptions over his last four starts.   

“It looks like he’s going be a good quarterback for a long time, a lot to work with and I know he’s a smart, hard-working kid that likes football and I’m sure he will continue to get better, as he has this year throughout the course of the season,” Belichick said. “He’s improved from the early games that I’ve watched, and like I said, has a lot of good skill players to work with – good tight end, good backs, good receivers. So, yeah, he’s a good player.”

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