Chargers fans everywhere held their collective breath as all-world QB Justin Herbert went down. It was like the season flashed before our eyes. And it wasn’t pretty. All of these key signings, all of the roster upgrades. For nothing. Taken away from us in one moment. There goes the season. Maybe next year. But, when Herbo came jogging back out there after just one play, we could all exhale.
But, with a fractured rib, it wasn’t like Herbert could exhale as easily as we all could. It was apparent he was still hurting. Very apparent. So much so, there was one pass he couldn’t even attempt. While the injury itself may have been due to one hit, it’s clear the beating throughout the whole game took its toll. This shows what a single poor performance can do to a team. Beyond moving the ball effectively, it can ruin an entire season.
Luckily, Herbo has been listed as “likely” to play in Week 3. Day to day. A big “maybe”. We’ll live another game… Yet, as we move forward after a heartbreaking loss to a division rival – we’re faced with a much easier contest; which begs the question. Do we even play Justin Herbert?
Why He Should Play
Keep him in rhythm, and allow him to work back from the injury. Maybe Joe Lombardi can give Herbo a small workload in terms of passing. We rely on our run game and short throws to win the game. Not to mention our new and improved Defense. Which, looking at our opponent, it should be able to. But, we are in the NFL after all, where anything can happen. Look at last year, where we lost to the Texans – who we happen to play in the week after this. In a highly competitive division, let alone the NFL, you can’t afford to take games for granted. And if let’s say, we were to happen to drop to 1-3, it would be a much steeper uphill battle to contention. It’s been painstakingly clear that Brandon Staley is all about taking gambles – and this could be a judgment call gone wrong… that happens to affect our whole season. On the other hand, maybe he gets the blood flowing, feels better – and easily secures us the next two games. Maybe just by handing it off and keeping the throws short. AKA, managing the game, not putting the scoreboard on his shoulders…
Why He Shouldn’t Play
Sure, the Jaguars are no longer the laughing stock they once were. But, they also aren’t the Raiders, Chiefs, or Broncos, either. Plus, the Jaguars may not be the most complete team – but they do have a solid D-Line. Can you imagine it? 1st overall pick Travon Walker coming full speed into Herbo’s already injured rib? No, how about Josh Allen? The season was almost lost last Thursday when Herbo took a whooping back in the pocket. If the injury were to aggravate – there goes the season. And while we may have lost to the Texans last year, it’s safe to say that Davis Mills won’t repeat his brilliant performance from a year ago. Chase Daniel is no Jimmy G when it comes to backups, but he is a capable veteran who can most likely manage a game to victory. If Justin Herbert were to go in there injured, he’d most likely be doing the same thing as Chase Daniel would be – only, without all of the risk. Let’s not forget who else won’t be playing… Corey Linsley. And we saw what happened last week without him.
All in all, even as a Chargers fan – I wouldn’t be completely against sitting Justin Herbert. While we can’t slip down the standings this early – we also can’t wage our whole future on a should-be easy win. My vote goes to sitting Herbo. Of course, fans all across Southern California will be in fumes if he sits and we lose. But, what’s worse? Potentially losing one game, or losing our franchise QB for an entire season. A season with Super Bowl aspirations, at that. Let’s ease him back in, and use the weakness of our schedule to our advantage. There’s no “I” in team, and the troops will need to rally around the 6’6” gap behind center. But if our roster is as good as it promises to be, we should be able to pull it off…
Unfortunately, injuries seem to have been a common theme in Chargers’ recent history. However, with iron-man Phillip Rivers, we never faced a problem like this. It’s one that really puts things into perspective of how bad things could be. Luckily, as mentioned, we’ll live another day this season. And, if the past has shown us anything – it’s that we can still pull off victories with a long list of battered Bolts. As mentioned, we got lucky with our next two opponents. Hopefully, we’ll get JC, Keenan Allen, and Justin Herbert all back in full swing by the early October matchup against the Broncos. But there’s no chance we’d be able to win that game without Herbert. The ball is in your hands, Mr. Staley – please, please choose wisely.